Face Coverings Are “In” This Season!

Memorial Day Weekend is here!  As more persons are getting out and making their way to food service facilities, there is an increased chance of exposure to COVID-19 by a person that might not even have symptoms of this illness.  And the best way to prevent this from happening is by wearing face coverings.

Individuals are being creative in regard to the face coverings they choose to wear— they’re not only adding a degree of protection, but they’re also having some fun while doing it.  Look around!  Face coverings range from different colored bandanas to an array of masks– from solid colors to super heroes!   Face coverings make a difference– not just to protect others but ourselves as well.

If you would like to share a photo of you or your team while wearing face coverings, please send it to our Food Program Manager [Karen.Gulley@dph.ga.gov] anytime during the next couple of weeks and we would be glad to share your photo on our Food Safety blog.

Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

Updated Food Service Reopening Guidance Tools Are Now Available!

As more food service operations are opening their dining rooms, operators are reminded of the need to comply with the requirements found in Governor Kemp’s Executive Order from May 12, 2020 and to stay alert for any additional updates.  The Georgia Department of Public Health has updated its  COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR RESTAURANTS WITH DINING ROOM SEATING  to reflect updates in the Executive Order.   

To assist operators with their plans for compliance, the National Restaurant Association has released its Reopening Guidelines training video as the 3rd tool in its series of free COVID-19 response videos for food service facilities. All three training videos are available in English and Spanish and are presented via ServSafe, the organization’s educational arm.  The Reopening Guidelines presents an overview of important actions that help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by applying new sanitation and disinfecting practices, and recognizing new social distancing requirements that are key components to safely reopening food service operations.

Updated Isolation Period for Workers with COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control has updated its recommended time required for workers to return to work after the onset of symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.  The time period has changed from 7 days to 10 days. 

As a result, the Georgia Department of Public Health has updated their COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR RESTAURANTS WITH DINING ROOM SEATING to reflect this change.  Now it states that “An employee with known or suspected COVID-19 must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to self-isolate for at least ten (10) days after symptom onset and end isolation only after symptoms have improved and the employee has been fever-free and/or symptom-free for three (3) consecutive days without medication before returning to work.” 

Please replace the previous guidance document with this updated version.

You’re Open, But Are You In Compliance?

We have seen an increase in reports of non-compliance as restaurants have begun reopening their dining rooms, as allowed by Governor Kemp’s Executive Order from April 23, 2020 if specific measures were taken to ensure customer and employee safety.   To assist with compliance, Columbia County government has produced a poster that summarizes the thirty-nine requirements specified in the Executive Order.  In addition, the Georgia Department of Public Health has provided COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants with Dining Room Seating.  Keep in mind that ALL food service employees are required to wear face coverings regardless of whether in-house dining is offered or not.  Face coverings include– but are not limited to– cloth face masks and bandanas. 

Upon investigation by our staff, non-compliant facilities will receive a Notice of Violation that will include instructions for achieving compliance.  Continued violation of the Executive Order will prompt contact with local law enforcement to further address the issue. 

Please contact your local Environmental Health Office if you have questions about what is needed to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cobb Environmental Health: 770-435-7815

Douglas Environmental Health 770-920-7311.

Guidance Document Now Available for Restaurant Dining Rooms

The Georgia Department of Public Health has issued a guidance document to assist restaurant operators that would like to reopen their dining rooms to their customers.

If you have reopened your dining room or are contemplating doing so and have questions related to this or other aspects of your operation, please feel free to contact your local Environmental Health office (Cobb: (770) 435-7815; Douglas: (770) 920-7311) for assistance.