What to do if a COVID-19 outbreak is associated with your food venue
Several food businesses have been associated with COVID-19 outbreaks. Even though they may not have done anything wrong, the popularity of social media means that it reduced their custom drastically, so it pays to be prepared.
How should you prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak?
You should ensure:
- a plan of communication with staff and others is included as part of your business continuity plan
- a single point of contact (SPOC) is nominated. This will ensure that the correct contact point for outbreak management is identified in advance of any outbreak. This individual will lead on liaison with local public health teams.
What happens if someone who tests positive for COVID-19 has recently visited the venue?
NHS contact tracers will escalate the case to the local HPT (health protection team), who will liaise as necessary with your environmental health officer and your SPOC.
It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home unless you are advised to do so following investigation by the relevant authorities.
What if you are aware of more than one case associated with your food venue?
You should contact your local HPT (health protection team) to report the suspected outbreak. Find your local health protection team.
If the local health protection team declares there is an outbreak, you will be asked to provide contact details of customers, visitors and staff and assist with identification of contacts.
You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process, which will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff, and reinforce prevention messages.
What will the local health protection team do?
- undertake a risk assessment
- provide public health advice
- where necessary, establish a multi-agency incident management team to manage the outbreak
The team will request basic background information on your staff including numbers, shift patterns and rotas, details of your site and information on measures in place such as social distancing, hand hygiene and cohorting.
The team will assist you with contact tracing in the workplace and provide advice on self-isolation for staff, contacts, and their households. Depending on the size and/or spread of the outbreak, they may require wider testing of the workforce.
Safer Food Scores is a long-established team of environmental health experts who advise businesses on health and safety compliance and outbreak control day in, day out. Liaison with local HPT and environmental health officers and guidance through this process is included as part of our Complete Compliance Contracts
Safer Food Scores COVID-19 compliance consultants provide COVID-19 management systems which include risk assessments, safe methods, monitoring records and signage. Your COVID-19 checks can be digitised using our health and safety monitoring app available for iOS and Android devices. We can also help you achieve COVID-SAFER UK accreditation which would give your staff, customers and visitors confidence that you are following best practice. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.