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Stand-Up Training: Operating During COVID-19

Food handlers wear masks while working

Empower Food Workers Through Training

Training your employees about preventing COVID-19 is extremely important. They should know what precautions to take to keep themselves and your customers safe. Our COVID-19 Resources page has information about the virus as well as posters you can display. Use these resources to remind your employees about the steps they can take to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

Learning Objectives

You may choose to read these learning objectives with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

After this training, employees will be able to:

  • Explain how to wear a mask and dispose of it or clean it properly
  • Follow a cleaning schedule and know which supplies to use
  • Know when to stay home from work when feeling sick or exposed to COVID-19
  • Explain and follow your company’s plan if they or another employee is diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19
  • Know when it is safe to return to work after self-isolating for the appropriate amount of time

The Facts

You may choose to read these facts with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

  • COVID-19 can spread quickly, especially through person-to-person contact. Keep your distance the best you can as you are working.
  • Common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
    • If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, stay home. If you begin feeling symptoms at work, notify your manager and go home immediately.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, stay home and self-isolate for at least 14 days.
  • Use safe food handling practices to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus as well as foodborne illnesses.

Training Activities

Choose the activities that will be most beneficial for your employees. Modify them as needed to fit the training needs of your establishment.

Proper Mask Wearing and Removal

Discuss: What is the correct way to put on and take off a mask? Make sure your employees mention these points:

  • Always wash hands after putting on a mask or adjusting it, and avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes when putting on or taking off a mask.
  • Masks should cover the nose, mouth, and chin and fit snug against your face.
  • Never switch masks with other people.
  • Remember to wear a clean mask when your shift starts.
  • When removing masks, you should only handle it by the ear loops or ties.
  • Discard disposable masks or launder cloth ones.
    • Remind employees to always wash their hands after removing their mask.

Explain it to Me

Ask: If I were a new employee, how would you explain putting on a mask to me when I start working? What about taking it off?

Demonstrate: Have a mask on hand and follow the instructions given by your employees. If you notice they tell you to do something that could contaminate your hands or make it unsafe for you to prepare food, point out what could be corrected.

Challenge: Encourage employees to follow guidelines with masks. Remind them to wear masks and wash hands often by placing posters in employee areas.

Cleaning Schedule

Show: Show the cleaning schedule you will use. You may choose to use the one provided in this training or create your own. Point out anything that might be different for your establishment since the pandemic began.

Discuss: What are we doing to help keep our building extra clean? Why is this important? You may want to point out:

  • High-contact surfaces, like tables and menus, should be cleaned between each guest use.
  • Disinfecting solutions should NOT be used on food contact surfaces.
    • Disinfectants are toxic and could chemically contaminate food if used on food-contact surfaces.
    • The CDC and EPA have recommended using disinfectants to better kill bacteria and viruses. These may be used on non-food contact surfaces, like doorknobs and in bathrooms.

If Employees Have Symptoms or Test Positive for COVID-19

Explain: Make sure your employees understand what to do if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Clearly explain your company’s plan to them, including how you will contact them if they are exposed to the virus. Remember:

  • You may need to shut down areas where the employee worked.
  • Your local regulatory authority may have certain recommendations or requirements for you to follow. These may include testing employees or temporarily shutting down your establishment. If this applies to you, tell your employees how you will communicate with them about testing or temporary closures.

Following Up

Observe employees as they complete tasks during a normal shift. Give them tips for improving their food safety awareness and COVID-19 recommendations. Watch how and when your employees put their masks on and be sure they are washing their hands often when needed. Praise employees who consistently follow the guidelines given in the training.

Make sure your shift managers and supervisors can answer questions that other employees may have about COVID-19. Encourage employees to ask questions when they need help instead of guessing at the right answer.

As needed, review this training with your employees!

Training Resources

The CDC guidelines about cloth face coverings will help you understand how to wear, take off, and launder masks.

Use or modify our COVID-19 cleaning checklist for your establishment.

Use our How to Properly Wear a Mask poster to help employees remember correct mask-wearing principles.

Find more posters, order stickers, or share information from our COVID-19 Resources page.

Did you use this stand-up training in your establishment? We’d love to get your feedback! Take a minute to do our feedback survey.

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— Janilyn Hutchings

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