“With this rapidly changing situation, we are not recommending food establishment closure at this time,” said Maggie Mann, Southeastern Idaho Public Health district director. “However, restaurant owners must take steps to help to keep customers and employees healthy.” These health measures include:

— In order to support local food establishments, while at the same time protecting your health, your family’s health and community’s health, we strongly encourage you to utilize drive through, pick up or delivery options.

For food establishments that continue to offer indoor dining, food establishments must take the following steps:

— Post signs at their entrance asking patrons to go home if they are sick.

— Increase their cleaning frequency.

— Require frequent hand washing.

— Put prevention signage in restrooms and common spaces. 

— Increase space between tables to 6 feet.

— Make sure alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available for customer use.

— Encourage food delivery or pick-up options.

— Eliminate crowded spaces. For example, have customers wait in their cars until their table is ready.

In addition to customer’s health, food establishments should be concerned for the health of their employees as well. Employers can take steps to ensure the health of their employees by doing the following:

— Encourage them to stay home if they are sick.

— Review and follow their illness policies.

— Develop non-punitive leave policies to support those who are sick and need to stay at home.

— Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or return to work.

— Ensure flexible policies that permit employees to stay home if someone in their family is sick.

For more information:

Visit SIPH’s website at siphidaho.org.

Call SIPH’s COVID-19 hotline Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 208-234-5875.

Watch SIPH’s district director on Facebook Live, facebook.com/siphidaho, Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.