Cuyahoga Co. health officials issue guidance to food workers, customers on COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 1:12 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 13:12:27-04

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County officials took steps Friday to increase safety at restaurants in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

During a news conference on COVID-19, Terry Allan, Cuyahoga County’s Health Commissioner, said his department would issue a “guidance document” to all of the county’s food operators.

“Our goal is to provide them with information about COVID-19 and best prepare them for the changes that they have seen in their businesses,” said Allan.

The document includes information about social distancing, hygiene and personal protection, employee illness policies, and resources for more information about COVID-19.

READ MORE: Cuyahoga Co Board of Health guidance to food workers on COVID-19

“Please know that the many thousands of restaurants that we have in this community are inspected on a regular basis by our public health, environmental public health sanitarians,” he said.

Allan said it is safe to order food from restaurants.

“Please know, that the many thousands of restaurants that we have in this community are inspected on a regular basis by our public health, environmental public health, sanitarians,” he said.

“We have relationships with the community,” said Allan. “We’re there to assure the food is prepared safely and to support them.”

“As of what we know today, COVID-19 is not transmittable by food,” said Kevin Brennan, Communications Officer, Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

He said there are currently 20 public health sanitarians continuing to perform routine food safety inspections each day.

Brennan said the current pandemic “won’t change what do on a regular basis.”

The county’s public health sanitarians completed 9,700 inspections last year, according to Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s annual report, including hundreds of re-inspections due to violations and responses to complaints.

REVIEW INSPECTION REPORTS: Cuyahoga County Board of Health food inspection reports

The inspections do not include establishments in the City of Cleveland, which has its own health department.

Brennan said most restaurants are inspected twice year, depending on the level of their operations, unless there are specific complaints or continued violations which warrant additional visits.

Brennan said the most significant concern right now is whether restaurants are still operating their dining areas. However, Brennan said there have no been reported problems so far about failures to follow the state’s order to shut down dining operations.

During Friday’s news conference, Allan also encouraged the public to order food to help support local businesses.

“Help out our restaurants,” he said. “They’re part of the community and they’re part of the critical infrastructure.”

“They could use your support during this time so please contact your favorite food locations this weekend,” said Allan.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

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