How to Manage Employee Health and Safety

It’s not just diners who feel uneasy about restaurants reopening, as staff face their share of concerns, too. While employee safety is always a priority, operators must take extra measures to safeguard their workers’ well-being during the pandemic.
Below are some tips to help protect your team:

  • Require self-monitoring. Employees should take their temperatures through screenings at the beginning of shifts. They must report any COVID-19 symptoms to managers and should not come to work if feeling unwell.
  • Provide PPE. Give employees masks, face shields and gloves. Keep a stock of gloves where they’re needed the most and choose a brand that’s easy to take on and off. For everyone’s safety, all people who enter the venue—including patrons—should wear masks.
  • Reduce contact. Limit customer interactions by encouraging mobile ordering and mobile menus. Have clear signage that indicates capacity limit, curbside pickup, closed tables and where patrons should wait for their takeout.
  • Clean diligently. Consistent disinfecting of workspaces and equipment is mandatory. In every shift, someone should be tasked with frequently sanitizing high-touch areas, such as doorknobs, tablets, POS keypads, bathrooms and railings.
  • Get back to the basics. Retrain staff on new policies, which may include curbside service, contactless payment and cleaning procedures. Remind workers to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds using soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap isn’t available.
  • Plan your response. If an employee becomes sick at work, send them home immediately and disinfect all touchpoints. Consider anyone who was within six feet of them “exposed.” Those who feel fine but know they were exposed should alert their supervisors and follow CDC recommendations. Supervisors should inform coworkers of their possible exposure while protecting the infected individual’s identity.

What are your tips for ensuring employee well-being? Tell us about them on Facebook or LinkedIn. For more helpful how-tos, visit our Tips page.


Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 2020.
Best practices for welcoming your staff back to your restaurant, National Restaurant Association, June 2020.

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