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Protecting Against Coronavirus

Rob Fiori
Rob Fiori | March 13, 2020

The world health community continues to closely monitor coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Given the current concerns and the fact that the seasonal influenza (flu) virus is also widespread, here are some tips that our food service partners can use to stay safe from illness and to help keep those they work with and those they serve safe and healthy, as well.


  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.


  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if a virus is spreading near you. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, such as older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions.


  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Monitor symptoms.
  • Call ahead before visiting the doctor.Separate those who are sick from others in your home or community.
  • Do not share personal household items.


  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or use the inside of elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • After coughing or sneezing, immediately wash hands or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.


  • If you are sick, wear a facemask when you are around other people (such as when sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If sick and not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), do your best to cover coughs and sneezes…and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick, you do not need to wear a facemask…unless you are caring for someone who is sick and they are not able to wear a facemask.
  • Facemasks may be in short supply and should be saved for those who are sick and caregivers.


  • Viruses can easily be killed with many disinfectants, so you should clean and disinfect properly with a disinfectant that has the kill claim(s) you are looking for.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocates a two-step process for cleaning and disinfecting: wash surfaces with cleaner and water and then apply an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects.
  • The CDC advises that the management of laundry, food service utensils, and medical waste should be performed in accordance with routine procedures.
  • Please note: If disinfectant is used on a food contact surface, it must be rinsed with a potable rinse.

For additional COVID-19 information and resources, please visit the Martin Bros. Pandemic Plan and resource page. 

Source: “Steps to Prevent Illness.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases,
Accessed March 2020.



Questions or comments about this article? Feel free to contact us!


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