Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

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Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities
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Source: County of Santa Barbara

Including: Restaurants, Bars, Grocery Stores, Farmer’s Markets and Food Distribution Programs

This guidance is provided to assist restaurants, bars, grocery stores, farmer’s markets and other food facilities in complying with the Public Health Department’s social distancing requirements.

Social Distancing Guidance for Retail Food Facilities

Social distancing refers to efforts to keep groups of people from coming together and to allow for more physical space between people when they do congregate. Properly implemented, social distancing is an important strategy to reduce opportunities for the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

Restaurants & Bars

  • Do not allow staff who have symptoms of coronavirus disease (such as a fever with cough) to come to work.
  • Space tables 6 feet apart in dining areas or seat customer groups at least 6 feet apart; space patrons at bar or counter seating at least 6 feet apart.
  • Postpone or cancel events / banquets with 250 or more attendees.
  • Postpone or cancel events / banquets with 10 or more individuals at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.
  • If events/banquets are held at the facility for smaller groups, work with event organizers to ensure that:
    • Individuals who are sick with coronavirus symptoms do not attend;
    • Attendees are spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Temporarily discontinue self-service of ready-to-eat foods such as salad bars or buffets.

Stores, Including Grocery Stores & Markets

  • Do not allow staff who have symptoms of coronavirus disease (such as a fever with cough) to come to work.
  • Monitor numbers of customers in store and in lines. Consider limiting / spacing entrance of customers so that the store does not become crowded.
  • Assist customers in keeping at least 6 feet of space between individuals or family groups while shopping or waiting in line. 
  • If on-site dining or eating spaces are provided, space tables or customer groups at least 6 feet apart; space patrons at bar or counter seating at least 6 feet apart.
  • Minimize quantities of foods put on display where they may be exposed to coughing, sneezing, etc. Reduce, whenever possible, customer self-service of foods. 

Farmer’s Markets, Swap Meets & Outdoor Markets

  • Do not allow staff who have symptoms of coronavirus disease (such as a fever with cough) to come to work.
  • Monitor numbers of customers at market and in each booth. If necessary, consider limiting / spacing entrance of customers to prevent crowding.
  • Consider posting signage at entrance of markets and booths to help educate and encourage customers to keep 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.
  • Minimize quantities of foods put on display where they may be exposed to coughing, sneezing, or handling by customers. Eliminate or reduce, whenever possible, customer self-service of foods. 

Meal-sharing and Food Distribution Sites

  • Do not allow staff or volunteers who have symptoms of coronavirus disease (such as a fever with cough) to come to work / distribution sites / distribution events.
  • Temporarily discontinue self-service of ready-to-eat foods such as salad bars or buffets.
  • Meal programs offering sit-down dining that serve individuals at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease should discontinue sit-down meal service and develop alternative methods of providing meals, such as:
    • Drive-through meal distribution
    • Takeout meal distribution
    • Home delivery of meals
  • If at all possible, providers should stagger when people receive services, so that a large number of people are not gathered in the same area at the same time.
    • If this is not feasible, then establish methods of keeping people at least 6 feet apart while helping others, waiting in line or receiving services.
  • Provide, when possible, alternative methods of providing meal services to individuals who are self-quarantining due to symptoms of coronavirus disease.
    • Encourage and facilitate good hand hygiene for both meal/food servers and recipients, as follows:
      • Meal servers handling open food must have access to handwashing facilities with single-use soap and paper towels
      • On-site dining for meal recipients is discouraged, but if it is planned, provide handwashing facilities for meal recipients as well as servers. Handwashing facilities must provide single-use soap and single-use paper towels in dispensers
      • For take-out, drive through or drop-off meal service at which there is no open food (food is prepackaged), providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers (containing at least 60% alcohol) for people to use while they wait or are receiving services is recommended.
  • Remind staff, volunteers & meal recipients that individuals with symptoms of coronavirus disease, such as fever and cough, should remain home. 
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33 Comments

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Kath590 Mar 16, 2020 10:27 AM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

I am young and healthy and wondering if there's any way for me to get into contact with elderly or sick who may need help buying groceries and supplies. Does anyone know of a message board or anything where I could offer going to the store for someone who can't?

yiannis93101 Mar 16, 2020 08:33 PM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

Hi there! I’m a resident at Friendship Manor in Goleta...Isla vista off el Colegio. I’m sure some of the residents here could use a hand. You could call and ask Dan the director Patricia.....I’m not sure if it’s allowed but worth a shot....and thanks for your generosity!

Bobbyk Mar 16, 2020 10:38 AM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

Kathy, I think a post on your local Nextdoor.com website will help you out. There currently are similar offers on my local Nextdoor site. Bless You :)

SBCountyLocal Mar 16, 2020 12:33 AM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

Santa Barbara City Council is behind the ball. We need to have delivery only. It's the right thing to do. We also need to lockdown non essential businesses and travel and to severely curtail social interaction. This will help to prevent the worst case scenario we have now. We are going to be in for a wild ride.

SBCountyLocal Mar 15, 2020 02:41 PM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

Newsom calls to close all bars & wineries. LA has closed bars. Sounds like our Public Health Department needs to update these guidelines. ------ https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Coronavirus-live-updates-Bay-Area-California-cases-15100710.php

a-1591470835 Mar 15, 2020 01:07 PM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

Where do I find any current information on if there are any reported positive Covid-19 cases here in SB County? Thanks for the reply with link(s).

EastBeach Mar 15, 2020 01:24 PM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

And for global information (you can drill into any country and look at state/province-level statistics - they even have cruise ships on the map) my favorite is John Hopkin's COVID-19 dashboard. It is an *excellent* resource ...... https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

a-1591470835 Mar 15, 2020 12:55 PM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

EOS had a live band and dancing last night. What are the recommendations for EOS, Wildcat and other locations with dancing? In another note what do you do about valets? - Both sound very risky right now.

EastBeach Mar 15, 2020 12:14 PM
Social Distancing Guidance for Food Facilities

Probably should mention it to the grocery store manager. I work for a company in Goleta with many employees. We only received detailed guidance from management last Friday on our new Coronavirus protocols. The same thing actually happened at a few other large tech companies on the same day. Despite the urgency, there will likely be a settling in period where companies and employees adapt to the new guidelines.

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