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Use of Respirators, Facemasks, and Cloth Face Coverings in the Food and Agriculture Sector During Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and to help people who are unaware they have the virus from spreading it to others.

This has led to questions from the Food and Agriculture Sector about what respirators, disposable facemasks, such as surgical or medical masks, or cloth face coverings are most appropriate for various settings.

  • Respirators protect wearers from breathing in hazardous contaminants in the air.
 
  • Disposable facemasks, such as surgical or medical masks, are not respirators and do not protect the wearer from breathing in small particles, gases, or chemicals in the air.
  • Cloth face coverings, whether provided by the employer or brought from home by the worker, are not respirators or disposable facemasks and do not protect the worker wearing them from exposures.
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Best Practices for Re-Opening Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Food Safety Checklist

FDA is providing a food safety re-opening checklist for previously closed retail food establishments or those that have been open with limited service related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This checklist addresses key food safety practices for retail food establishments to consider when re-opening and restarting operations. This is not a comprehensive list. We encourage retail food establishments to partner with local regulatory/health authorities to discuss the specific requirements for their retail food establishment prior to re-opening.

Additional references:

   
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Best Practices for Re-Opening Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We encourage retail food establishments and their employees to follow these best practices and refer to the CHECKLIST – Best Practices for Re-Opening Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic for more details. Work closely with State and local regulatory/health authorities where the business is located to ensure all requirements are met.
  • CLEAN & DISINFECT

    • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and common use areas more frequently, such as door knobs and handles, display cases, check-out counter, order kiosks, grocery cart handles, restrooms, and waiting areas. Clean and sanitize equipment like ice machines and ice bins.
    • Prepare and use sanitizers and disinfectants according to label instructions.
    • Avoid high-touch containers and items like ketchup bottles, utensils, salt/pepper shakers, and reusable menus by using single service items, when possible.
  • SOCIAL DISTANCE

    • Restrict the number of workers, customers and visitors in sit-in dining areas, bars and in shared spaces like kitchens, break rooms, waiting areas, and offices to maintain at least a 6-foot distance between people.
    • Increase spacing for customers and increase utensil disinfection and cleaning frequency at self-service stations/buffets.
    • Minimize contact at check-out and pay stations. Mark 6-foot distances with floor tape and temporarily move workstations to create more distance, consider installing partitions, if feasible.
  • PICK-UP & DELIVERY

    • Maintain food time and temperature controls.
    • Initiate “no touch” deliveries and payments.
    • ZONE Designate pick-up zones.
  • PHYSICAL FACILITY

    • Ensure premises are operational and in good working order.
    • Clean, disinfect, and sanitize throughout the facility before re-opening.
    • Monitor for pests.
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Non-contact Infrared Thermometers

NCITs may be used to reduce cross-contamination risk and minimize the risk of spreading disease. While typically 98.6°F (37.0°C) is considered a “normal” temperature, some studies have shown that “normal” body temperature can be within a wide range, from 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C). Before NCITs are used, it is important to understand the benefits, limitations, and proper use of these thermometers. Improper use of NCITs may lead to inaccurate measurements of temperature.”

Visit fda.gov for more information on non-contact infrared thermometers Figure 1: Correct Use – Forehead unobstructed, and NCIT perpendicular to forehead and used at distance identified in manufacturer’s instructions.
Figure 2: Incorrect Use – Not perpendicular to forehead
Figure 3: Incorrect Use – Forehead exposed to direct sunlight outdoors
References Note, this information is applicable to NCITs which are intended for a medical purpose which means that the NCIT is intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease and, therefore, meets the definition of “device” set forth in Section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
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Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19

The FDA is working with U.S. government partners including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical product manufacturers, and international partners to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Find the most recent FDA updates on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 page.

Q. Is hand sanitizer effective against COVID-19?

A:  The best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is essential, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not available, CDC recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

            View CDC Handwashing Recommendations at cdc.gov/handwashing/

Q. Should I be using antibacterial soap to wash my hands?

A: The best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is essential, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. There is currently no evidence that consumer antiseptic wash products (also known as antibacterial soaps) are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients could do more harm than good in the long-term and more research is needed.

For additional information, see Topical Antiseptic Products: Hand Sanitizers and Antibacterial Soaps.

Q. Many surface cleaners and disinfectants say they can be used against SARS-CoV-2. What does this mean? Can I use these products on my hands or body to prevent or treat the virus?

A:  Always follow the instructions on household cleaners. Do not use disinfectant sprays or wipes on your skin because they may cause skin and eye irritation. Disinfectant sprays or wipes are not intended for use on humans or animals. Disinfectant sprays or wipes are intended for use on hard, non-porous surfaces.

View the current list of products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

Q. Where should hand sanitizer be stored?

A:   Hand sanitizer should be stored out of reach, and sight, of children. It should not be stored above 105°F (for example, it should not be stored in a car during the summer months).

Visit fda.gov/ to read more Q&A’s for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19