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Coronavirus Press Releases

Posted on: March 16, 2020

County Public Order Closes Restaurants for 48hrs to Help Prevent Spread of Coronavirus

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Department of Public Health and Environment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

County Public Order Closes Restaurants for 48hrs to Help Restaurants Stay Open, Safe, and Prevent Spread of Coronavirus 


CONTACT: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer, San Miguel County

          970-729-2028    susanl@sanmiguelsheriff.org


(March 16, 2020) -- San Miguel County, CO – San Miguel County Public Health and Environment issued Public Health Orders today for local retail food establishments to close effective 3pm today for 48 hours to help them adjust and implement state guidelines continue to safely provide services to consumers and take appropriate action to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

County officials held a conference call with restaurant and bar owners and operators Monday afternoon to discuss new action items based on newly issued state guidelines and to field questions. 

“We are strongly encouraging businesses to move to take-out and delivery food service options to maintain social distancing and  decrease chances of disease transmission.” Grace Franklin, County Public Health Director said. “It’s not the food itself we are concerned about being a vector, it’s the human contact and food preparation process that needs to be refined in light of Covid-19 (coronavirus).”

County officials are also encouraging food establishments electronic payment such as “Venmo” to help reduce unnecessary contact. Chris Smith said, “Our restaurants and their patrons want the flexibility to still enjoy what our county establishments have to offer, and we’re doing what we can to support that.” Smith is also serving as the “Safety Officer” for the county’s public health emergency response team.

Grocery stores are considered “essential services” and will continue to stay open. Lodging facilities may continue to offer room service to help provide food for their guests but must comply with the Public Health Order to close their restaurants and any take out or delivery operations for the 48 hours indicated. Wholesalers are also permitted to continue to operate. 

Below are the details of state and county action items.

Retail Food Establishment Action Items:

The best practices for retail food establishments are continuous and diligent implementation of the elements of the food code that help prevent illness. Additional steps you can take include special attention to the following in your daily operations: 

  • Heightened hygienic practices including peer observation (watch and coach teammates) and supervisor oversight (attention to techniques and frequency) to ensure staff are washing hands frequently and correctly. 

  • Use signage to notify visitors, vendors: Place signage at the main entrances warning visitors not to enter if they are sick or not feeling well, have recently traveled outside of the US, or may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19. 

  • Constant interaction (before each shift) with staff on their health status and the health of anyone with whom they may be in close contact (family members, roommates, etc.). 

  • Immediately exclude any staff members indicating symptoms or that have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone diagnosed COVID-19 and contact San Miguel County of Public Health and Environment. 

  • During routine business hours, frequently and thoroughly clean and disinfect all frequently touched objects within the dining and customer areas (door knobs, cabinet handles, handrails, light switches, kitchen counters, dining room tables). Regular cleaning and disinfection products can be used. 

  • Deep clean and disinfect the entire facility during non-operational hours at least 2 times per week. 

  • Staff should wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after cleaning and disinfecting is completed. Ensure that staff properly wash their hands immediately after gloves are removed. 

  • Continue to clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces in the kitchen and other food storage areas. 

  • Have staff dispense food from buffets or discontinue buffet services to prevent customer reuse of service utensils. 

  • Discontinue services that allow customers to fill their own beverage cups such as coffee cups or growlers. 

  • Guide staff to cough or sneeze into their sleeved arm or cover their nose and mouth with a tissue. Throw away the tissue after they use it and wash hands. 

  • Ensure staff do NOT share cups and eating utensils with others. 

  • Ensure that staff avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. 

  • Station hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer in common assembly areas, such as waiting areas, game rooms, or lobbies. If available consider putting a bottle of hand sanitizer on all the dining room tables. At your main entrance, provide a cleaning station with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues, and a trashcan for visitors. 

  • Monitor your staff for early signs of illness. Workers can inadvertently spread viruses. Send employees home who are experiencing symptoms.

For further information please see the CDC guidance under the “How to clean and disinfect” section at: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

For more information and to sign up for coronavirus email alerts, go to sanmiguelcountyco.gov/coronavirus.

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To protect and preserve the health and environment by providing high-quality public health care services and environmental protection services to the people of San Miguel County.

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