Last updated: August 13, 2020 at 2:43 p.m.

The information on this page provides you with what you need to know to re-open your restaurant, or other food premises, after being closed or limited to take-out and delivery only.

COVID-19 Guidance for Farmers’ and Fresh Food Markets

The following recommendations are intended to help organizers, staff, vendors and the public participating in farmers’ and fresh food markets reduce the spread of COVID-19. These markets primarily sell fresh fruits, vegetables and food that do not require onsite food preparation. More information about COVID-19 can be found in the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

How to Shop at a Farmers Market

Markets will conduct screenings of customers, staff and delivery personnel. Screenings are intended to protect the well-being of everyone in the market.

Customers are asked to shop alone or with one other person if they need help carrying groceries, and are reminded not to shop in groups or bring family along.

Customers should also take the following steps when shopping at a farmers’ market:

  • Do not attend a farmers’ market if you are ill or have travelled out of the country in the last 14 days.
  • Wear a non-medical face mask or face covering when you’re in indoor spaces or can’t physically distance.
  • Sanitize your hands when entering and leaving the farmers’ market.
  • Practice good hygiene and avoid touching your face.
  • Order in advance for pick up, when possible.
  • Come with a plan and make purchases as quickly as possible to reduce wait time for others.
  • Maintain a physical distance of two metres/six feet from other customers, vendors and staff.
  • Use electronic payment options, when possible.

Recommendations for Market Organizers

Screen market staff and vendors

  • It is strongly recommended that market organizers have market staff and vendors complete a health-screening questionnaire before each work shift and prior to participating in the market.
    • Questions can be completed on a paper-based questionnaire, asked directly to employees with answers recorded, or be completed electronically.

Implement attendance policies for farmer’s market staff and vendors

  • Maintain a list of the names and contact information of market staff, vendors, and their employees that attend the market.
  • Ensure sick staff/vendors do not attend the famers’ market.
  • Remind staff/vendors about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor/manager.
    • If a staff/vendor becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms while attending the market, they should go home immediately and self-isolate.
    • Staff/vendors experiencing symptoms can call Telehealth, their health care provider or an assessment centre for testing.
  • Staff/vendors who have travelled anywhere outside of Canada must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada.
  • Establish criteria for staff/vendors to return to work:
    • In general, if a staff/vendor had COVID-19 they are able to resume working/attending the farmers’ market 14 days after their symptoms began.
    • For other illnesses, or if the individual received a negative COVID-19 test, they should not attend the farmers’ market until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
    • Clearance tests are not required for return to work.

Implement measures to maintain physical distancing

Physical distancing refers to the practice of avoiding close contact by keeping a distance of two metres (six feet) from others. Plan and modify the layout of the farmers’ market to ensure enough space is provided for customers, vendors and market staff to maintain physical distancing. Strategies to ensure physical distancing among customers and staff can include:

  • Designate a single entry and exit point to control the number of customers entering the market.
    • Post signage at the entrance welcoming customers and indicating the conditions for entry. See the Farmers’ Market Ontario’s COVID-Fact/Info Sheet as an example.
  • Close all other access points to the market:
    • Use existing barriers/structures. For example, position the market near an existing building so that the walls of the building enclose the market perimeter. If this is not possible, install barriers, fencing or other equipment to enclose the market perimeter.
  • Monitor and manage customer lines:
    • Place visual markers/cues spaced two metres/six feet apart (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) to encourage physical distancing and guide customers waiting in line.
    • Assign staff to monitor the line and to make public announcements reminding customers to keep two metres/six feet apart.
  • Limit the number of customers permitted into the market at any given time:
    • Position staff at the entrance to control customer entry.
    • Monitor the number of people entering and leaving the market
    • Stagger/delay customer entry into the market.
    • If the maximum number of customers is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.
    • To calculate the maximum number of people that should be permitted in the market at any one time, apply the one person per four square metres of public/retail floor space rule.
  • Encourage physical distancing between customers attending the market:
    • Design a shopping flow that encourages one-way movement with prominent signage and/or floor markings.
    • Do not provide communal tables or seating in the market.
  • Arrange and modify vendors booths to maintain physical distancing and reduce contact:
    • Increase spacing between vendors booths (e.g. keep an empty area between each booth).
  • Support vendors that are providing online and/or telephone ordering services:
    • Establish and clearly identify pick-up points for advance orders (e.g. drive-thru/pedestrian pick-up)
  • Stagger load in and load out times, and designate locations for vendor areas prior to market opening.

Support hand hygiene

  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations for customer use (e.g. wall mounted/upright sanitizer stations). Use sanitizers with 70-90% alcohol concentration.
  • Designate washroom facilities for market staff and vendors/employee use only.
  • Monitor and refill hand hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap and paper towels in public areas and washroom facilities.

Increase communication with customers and vendors

  • Communicate COVID-19 preparations and market expectations with all vendors prior to attending the market.
  • Provide information to customers about market operations (e.g. public health measures, advance order options, curbside pickup) through different communication platforms (e.g. market webpage, email social media accounts).
  • Post signs at the entrance instructing customers and staff not to visit the farmers’ market if they are sick.
  • Post educational materials to encourage healthy behaviours that reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection

  • Assign dedicated market staff to complete environmental cleaning and disinfection duties.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and objects in public areas (e.g. handrails, doorknobs, tabletops) at least twice a day and when visibly dirty.
  • Educate market staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants, and ensure:
    • Required disinfectant contact times are followed (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Use of safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Maintain cleanliness of staff/vendor washrooms and other areas as necessary.
  • Provide waste receptacles lined with a plastic bag, and empty as often as necessary.

Recommendations for Vendors

Conduct screening of employees prior to attending the market

  • It is strongly recommended that vendors ask their employees to complete a health-screening questionnaire before attending the market.
    • Questions can be completed on a paper-based questionnaire, asked directly to employees with answers recorded, or be completed electronically.

Implement attendance policies for employees

  • Ensure sick employees do not attend the famers’ market.
  • Remind employees about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor/manager.
    • If an employee becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms while attending the market, they should go home immediately and self-isolate.
    • Employees experiencing symptoms can call Telehealth, their health care provider or an assessment centre for testing.
  • Employees who have travelled anywhere outside of Canada must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada.
  • Establish criteria for employees to return to work:
    • In general, if an employee had COVID-19, they are able to resume working/attending the market 14 days after their symptoms began.
    • For other illnesses, or if the individual received a negative COVID-19 test, they should not attend the market until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
    • Clearance tests are not required for return to work.

Implement measures to maintain physical distancing

  • Limit the number of employees working within the booth at any one time:
    • Employees should maintain physical distancing from each other and customers, where possible.
    • Assign each employee a specific workstation and task to reduce overlap.
  • Offer an online and/or telephone ordering service that allow customers to order items in advance.
  • Equip physical barriers at the point of sale (e.g. plexiglass).
  • Encourage electronic payment by debit or credit card, and to tap instead of using the PIN pad, and assign one employee to process all transactions.
  • Place visual markers/cues (e.g. pylons, signs) two metres/six feet apart to direct line-ups at vendor’s booths.
  • Leave the customers purchases on the counter or set-up a side table for the customer to pick it up while maintaining a two metre/six foot distance from employees.
  • Remind customers not to congregate near the booth once they have completed their purchase.
  • Post physical distancing signs in highly visible areas.

Encourage and practice proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Educate employees on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), provided hands are not visibly soiled.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer in dispensers within the booth for employee use. Monitor and refill as needed.
  • Remind employees to avoid touching their face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Post Cover your Cough and Wash your Hands signage in visible locations within the booth.

Practice proper glove use

  • Glove use is not mandatory and gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene.
  • If vendors/employees use gloves they should be changed every hour, or more often as necessary.
  • Hands should be washed with soap and water for 15 seconds before putting on and after taking off gloves.
  • Change gloves when changing tasks, after touching your face, or coming in contact with an item that may have germs.
  • When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time.

Implement measures to protect food from contamination

  • Practice proper hand hygiene often.
  • Prepackage foods offered for sale to reduce handling and direct contact.
  • Keep food out of the customer’s reach to discourage handling.
  • Do not provide samples.
  • Do not handle reusable containers/bags supplied by the customer.
  • Suspend accepting product returns.
  • Encourage customers to take their purchased foods home and wash thoroughly before eating.

Practice proper use of cloth and non-medical face masks

  • Non-medical/cloth masks are strongly recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Train staff/vendors on the proper use of masks, and how to safely put on and take off a mask.
  • Masks do not replace the need for physical distancing, hand washing, and staying home when sick.

Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols

  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and objects within the booth (e.g. tabletops, stands, mobile payment terminals) at least twice a day and when visibly dirty.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces in the delivery vehicle (e.g. steering wheel, door handles, controls, knobs/dials) at the beginning and end of the day/shift.
  • Educate market staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants to ensure:
    • Required disinfectant contact times are followed (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Use of safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Ensure waste receptacles are available within the booth.

Download this information as a PDF.

Resource:

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Food Banks and Donation Centres.

COVID-19 Guidance for Food Stores

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a new type of coronavirus. COVID-19 can present as an acute respiratory illness in humans. The virus is spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact. More information on COVID-19 can be found in the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Food stores are deemed essential businesses as they provide safe and reliable access to food, beverages and consumer products necessary to maintain households and businesses. With current community transmission of COVID-19 in Toronto, food stores, including grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies, should adjust operations to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Recommendations for owners and operators of food stores, including grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies:

Conduct screening of staff to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
  • All staff should be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including:
    • fever
    • cough
    • muscle aches and tiredness
    • difficulty breathing
    • and less commonly: sore throat, headache, diarrhea
  • Require staff who are sick to stay home:
    • Staff who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness must stay home, and not attend work until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
    • Staff who have travelled outside of Canada must stay home, and self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada.
    • Visit our website to learn about assessment centres, and to help determine if further health care is required.
  • Remind staff about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor/manager.
  • Provide attendance and sick leave policies and procedures that compensate staff for staying home if they are sick.
  • Stay up to date with information about COVID-19 on the Toronto Public Health
Increase communication with customers and staff:
  • Post signs at all entrances instructing customers and staff not to enter or visit if they are sick.
  • Post educational materials to encourage behaviours to prevent transmission such as:
  • Provide frequent reminders over the public announcement (PA) system to customers about physical distancing and any other key messaging (e.g. sanitizing hands at entrance, stay home if feeling ill, no gathering/crowding in one area, ensure two metres/six feet apart in line-ups).
  • Information can also be communicated on the stores website, and through automated telephone messages, newsprint and e-mail subscriptions.
Implement measures to ensure physical distancing:

Physical distancing refers to the practice of avoiding close contact by keeping a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. Strategies to ensure physical distancing among customers and staff can include:

  • Limit the number of customers permitted into the store at a time:
    • Position an employee at the entrance to control customer entry.
    • Monitor the number of people entering and leaving the store.
    • Stagger entry into the store.
    • Once the maximum number of customers is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.
      • To calculate the maximum number of people that should be permitted in the store at any one time, a good rule of thumb is one person per two metres square (four squared metres) of retail floor space.
    • Post signage at the entrance indicating the maximum number of customers that can be permitted at any one time.
  • Provide visible queues for customers who might be waiting in line outside the store by placing markers such as tape, safety cones/pylons or painted lines every two metres/six feet.
  • Recommend that families designate one person to do the shopping, where possible.
  • Maintain physical distancing between people within the store:
    • Design a shopping flow for the whole store (e.g. creating one-way aisles with prominent signage and/or floor markings).
    • Place tape on the floor two metres/six feet apart for lining up at service counters (e.g. cashiers, meat/deli).
    • Assign an employee to direct customers to the cashier as they become available.
  • Utilize other measures in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain:
    • Set-up portable barriers around employees when restocking (e.g. produce carts).
    • Install plexi-glass dividers at cashiers or any other service counter where staff are required to be in close contact with customers.
    • Consider staggering the number cashier stations open at any given time (e.g. every other station is used).
Support and encourage proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
  • Educate staff and customers on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer in dispensers near entrances, service counters and other high-touch locations for customer and staff use. Monitor and refill as needed.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Post Cover your Cough, Hand Washing and Hand Sanitizing signage in visible locations.
Practice proper glove use:
  • Glove use is not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. If staff use gloves, it is important to change them every hour, or more often, as necessary.
    • Hands should be washed and/or sanitized between changes.
    • Remove gloves when changing tasks.
    • When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time.
Modify cashier stations and transactions:
  • Provide clean carry-out bags for purchased food and grocery products.
  • Customers that bring their own reusable bags or boxes should package their own purchases.
  • Encourage electronic payment by debit or credit card, and tap instead of pin pad use where possible.
    • Limit the handling of credit cards and loyalty cards, wherever possible.
    • Consider using one cashier for cash payments.
  • Avoid using grocery dividers on conveyor belts at cashier stations where possible. Consider single use disposable dividers or direct customers to leave a space. If re-usable dividers are used, they should be cleaned and disinfected after each use between customers.
  • Limit the number of items per customer for essential products to prevent hoarding.
Implement measures to protect food, packaging and utensils from contamination:
  • There is currently no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted through food. However, food should be protected from contamination at all times, as outlined in the Ontario Food Premises Regulation.
  • Suspend accepting product returns and do not put returned items back on the shelves.
  • Pre-package bulk food items (e.g. buns, pastries, candies) or use gravity feed bins where possible. If not possible, scoop/utensils used for food should be replaced every two hours, or as often as necessary, and be cleaned and sanitized. Alternatively, designate a staff member to assist customers scoop their items.
  • Do not provide food samples to customers.
  • In the event that a case of COVID-19 is reported in a staff member or customer, it is not necessary for the store to discard any food that they may have been in contact with.
Consider vulnerable populations:
  • Consider designating the first hour of operation for customers from vulnerable populations (e.g. seniors, people with underlying medical conditions).
  • Offer online or telephone food and grocery orders with contactless delivery or pick up services as alternatives to shopping in person.
Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols:
  • Enhance cleaning and disinfection policies and procedures.
  • Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and organic material from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill or deactivate germs.
  • Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill/deactivate germs on surfaces. This process does not work effectively if surfaces are not cleaned first.
  • Disinfectants should have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada. Check the expiry dates of products you use, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Chlorine bleach solutions may be used for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
    • Prepare chlorine bleach solutions according to the instructions on the label or in a ratio of:
      • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) bleach per cup (250 mL) of water, or
      • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) bleach per litre (1000 mL) of water.
    • Ensure a minimum of two minutes contact time and allow to air dry.
    • Prepare fresh bleach solution daily.
  • Educate staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants:
    • Required disinfectant contact times (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
    • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings fact sheet.
  • Designate staff to clean and disinfect high traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g. freezer/cooler doors, produce carts, cashier stations, counters, hand rails).
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least twice per day, and when visibly dirty.
    • Clean and disinfect debit machine pin pads after each use.
    • Increase the number of shifts/hours to ensure enough time is spent cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Provide disinfecting wipes for wiping down handles on shopping carts and hand baskets. Monitor and refill as needed.
  • For cleaning and sanitizing food contract surfaces, equipment and utensils, follow standards prescribed in Ontario Food Premises Regulation. The Ontario Ministry of Health has also provided additional COVID-19 guidance for food premises.
  • Monitor and clean the parking lot daily and as necessary (e.g. for discarded gloves, masks, litter).

Download this information as a PDF.

Further guidance for food premises is available on the Ontario Ministry of Health’s website.

COVID-19 Guidance for Mobile Food Premises

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a new type of coronavirus. COVID-19 can present as an acute respiratory illness in humans. The virus is spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact. More information on COVID-19 can be found in the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Mobile food premises are required to operate according to Ontario Regulation 493/17 – Food Premises. Mobile food premises such as food trucks, food carts and ice cream trucks, must possess a valid license to operate in the city of Toronto. As COVID-19 continues to spread in the community, owners and operators of mobile food premises should adjust their operations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Operators are responsible for ensuring that physical distancing is maintained by customers at all times. Crowding is not permitted. Food should be for takeaway only. Seating should not be set up to consume food onsite. If crowds develop or physical distancing cannot be maintained, the operator should close down or move their truck to another location.

Recommendations for owners and operators of mobile food premises to protect employees and customers:

Screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms before work

  • It is strongly recommended that all employees complete a health screening questionnaire before each work shift.
    • Questionnaires can be administered by asking the screening questions directly to employees and recording their responses on paper, or can be completed electronically.

Implement policies for employee attendance

  • Employers should ensure employees do not come to work sick.
    • Remind employees about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor/manager.
    • If employees become sick with COVID-19 symptoms while at work, they should go home right away and self-isolate.
    • Employees can contact Telehealth, their health care provider or an assessment centre for testing and to help determine if further health care is required.
  • Establish criteria for employees to return to work.
    • In general, if an employee had COVID-19, they are able to return to work 14 days after their symptoms began. For other illnesses, or if the employee received a negative COVID-19 test, they should not attend work until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
    • There are no tests of clearance that are required for employees to return to work.

Implement measures to encourage physical distancing

  • Physical distancing refers to the practice of avoiding close contact by keeping a distance of two metres (six feet) from others.
  • Limit the number of employees within the mobile food premises at any one time:
    • Employees should maintain physical distancing from each other and customers, where possible.
    • Assign each employee a specific work station(s) and tasks to reduce overlap.
  • Consider implementing the use of online and/or telephone ordering services.
  • Provide visible cues for customers lining up outside the mobile food premises by placing markers such as tape, stickers or safety cones every two metres/six feet.
    • Assign an employee to actively monitor the line-up to prevent crowding.
  • After placing an order, encourage customers to wait at a distance until their food is ready to be picked-up.
    • Consider implementing an order numbering system to identify orders for pick-up.
    • Leave orders on the counter or set-up a side table for the customer to pick it up without contact.
  • Install plexi-glass barriers at take-out counters where employees may have close contact with customers.
  • Encourage electronic payment by debit or credit card, and tap instead of pin pad use where possible.
    • Assign one employee to process all transactions.
  • Do not allow customers to congregate near the mobile food premises once their food has been received. Seating should not be available for eating on premise. Food should be for takeaway only.
    • Avoid parking in the same lot or in close proximity to other mobile food premises.
  • Post Physical Distancing signs in highly visible areas.

Implement measures to protect food, packaging, and utensils from contamination

  • There is currently no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted through food. However, food should be protected from contamination at all times, as outlined in Ontario Regulation 493/17 – Food Premises.
  • Do not provide squeeze bottles or open communal containers for customer use:
    • Use food items such as individual packets or pre-portioned containers for condiments (e.g. ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise), where possible.
    • Individual packets/pre-portioned containers should be offered and provided with each order.
    • Alternatively, employees can apply condiments as per the customer’s choice.
  • Provide individually wrapped/pre-packaged disposable utensils (i.e. forks, knifes, spoons).
  • Do not provide food samples to customers.

Support and encourage proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Educate employees on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
    • Wash your hands with liquid soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds frequently throughout the day and after each interaction.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • Ensure the mobile food premises is provided with an adequate supply of hot and cold water, liquid soap and paper towels to facilitate the handwashing of employees.
    • Ensure the hand washing basin remains unobstructed and easily accessible at all times.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol) in a dispenser for customer use at the order/pick-up window.
  • Post Hand Washing, Cover your Cough and Hand Sanitizing signage in visible locations.

Practise proper glove use

  • Glove use is not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. If employees use gloves, it is important to change them every hour, or more often, as necessary.
    • Hands should be washed with soap and water for 15 seconds before putting on and after taking off gloves.
    • Change gloves when changing tasks, after touching your face, or coming in contact with an item that may have germs.
    • When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time.

Encourage the use of non-medical masks and face coverings

  • Non-medical masks or face coverings are strongly recommended for employees when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
    • Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering may not protect you from COVID-19, but it may protect others from your respiratory droplets and germs.
  • Train employees on the proper use of masks and how to safely put on and take off a mask.

Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols

  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, steering wheel, dashboard dials/knobs and mobile payment terminals, at least twice a day.
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19.
    • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
    • Check the expiry dates of products you use, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Chlorine bleach solutions may be used for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
    • Prepare chlorine bleach solutions according to the instructions on the label or in a ratio of:
      • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) bleach per cup (250 mL) of water, or
      • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) bleach per litre (1000 mL) of water.
    • Ensure a minimum of two minutes contact time and allow to air dry.
    • Prepare fresh chlorine bleach solution daily.
  • For cleaning and sanitizing food contract surfaces, equipment and utensils, follow standards prescribed in Ontario Regulation 493/17 – Food Premises. The Ontario Ministry of Health has also provided additional COVID-19 guidance for food premises.

Useful Resources


Download this information as a PDF.

Resource:

COVID-19 Guidelines for Re-Opening your Restaurant, Bar or Other Food Service Premises

This guide provides you with the information you need to re-open your restaurant, bar or other food service premises. Part 1 provides advice on preparing your restaurant, bar or food premises for food service before reopening, and Part 2 helps you to provide food service after reopening.

If you have a specific question about anything in this document, please call Toronto Public Health (TPH) at 416-338-7600, email DineSafe@toronto.ca or visit www.toronto.ca/COVID19.

Restaurants, bars and other food service premises must comply with By-law 665-2020, which amends Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545, Licensing, as well as the Stage 3 provincial regulation issued under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 (O Reg 364/20).

There is no requirement for restaurants, bars or other food premises to be inspected by Toronto Public Health before reopening. However, if you are opening a new restaurant, bar or other food premises, you must contact Toronto Public Health before opening to arrange for an inspection. You also must comply at all times with Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493/17 made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

COVID-19 Transmission

COVID-19 is spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact from respiratory droplets of someone with COVID-19. The respiratory droplets can travel up to two metres/six feet when we cough, sneeze or talk.

It is possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. The virus may survive on plastic and metal surfaces for several hours.

Main measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in restaurants, bars and other food premises

  • Physical distancing by keeping a two metre/six foot distance from both staff and customers.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection of all potentially contaminated surfaces.

Additional protective measures to keep everyone safe

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash hands often. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wear a face mask or covering when in an enclosed, public setting.

The following recommended actions apply both indoors and outdoors. Patios are encouraged wherever feasible. Patios provide conditions which inhibit the survival and spread of the COVID-19 virus. Patios must also comply with all City of Toronto requirements, available online at toronto.ca/cafeTO.

Part 1: Before Reopening

The following are recommended actions to be taken prior to opening your establishment for business:

Develop Protocols/Policies

  • As required under City bylaw, establish a COVID-19 screening protocol to be applied to each employee before they start a shift that consists of at least the Toronto Public Health screening questionnaire. The screening protocol must be produced on request to any City enforcement officer.
  • Staffing: stagger shifts, stagger breaks and lunch breaks, update absence policies, and new protocols for back filling absences.
    • In addition to implementing a screening protocol, operators should ensure that staff are not permitted to work if they show symptoms of COVID-19. Staff should report any symptoms developed during shift to their supervisor.
    • Staff should be aware of COVID-19 precautions, and physically distance as much as possible, including with other staff. Staff congregating can be a high risk for COVID-19 transmission.
  • Train staff in proper use of gloves and masks. Gloves are not essential, but, if used, must be changed frequently and hands washed between uses.
  • Consider how to train staff on new procedures/requirements.
  • The use of non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all indoor public spaces, as per a new City bylaw. Operators are required to develop a policy on the wearing of masks. More information is available here.
  • Consider policies for customers: for example, reservations preferred/only; payment by card preferred/only.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting: update protocols for cleaning/disinfecting surfaces and equipment.

Prepare the Physical Space

  • Check the condition of all food and discard expired or otherwise unfit products.
  • Wash, rinse and sanitize all food contact surfaces.
  • Ensure hand washing stations are adequate and functional.
  • Clean and disinfect all non-food contact surfaces, including high touch areas such as door handles and equipment knobs.
  • Check thoroughly for signs of pest activity. Consider contracting a licenced pest management company prior to opening to ensure there is no infestation.
  • Clean, sanitize and ensure all hot and cold holding facilities/equipment are functional.
  • Where applicable, ensure dishwashing machines are functioning adequately.
  • Ensure adequate amounts of sanitizers and detergents are available for manual dishwashing.
  • Ensure garbage storage areas are clean and of adequate size for the needs.
  • Clean and disinfect washrooms, and ensure adequate supplies are available.
  • Ensure faucets are working properly and flush pipes for at least five minutes.
  • Remove waiting area seating, and create a process to ensure that customers stay separate and maintain physical distancing while waiting to be seated.
  • Demarcate the floor with markers for any areas where a line up may occur.
  • Keep chairs well away from high traffic areas if possible.
  • Rearrange equipment and/or processes in the kitchen and other areas used by staff so that a two metre/six foot distance is achievable at all times. If not feasible, staff must wear masks.
  • If necessary, rearrange pick-up by servers to maintain distance (e.g. use the bar as a serving area).
  • If necessary, install barriers (e.g. plexiglass) to protect staff (e.g. host desk) or customers (e.g. between back-to-back booths).
  • Remove buffet-style meal service, self-serve locations, and self–serve drink dispensing machines (O Reg 364/20)
  • Reconfigure break rooms/areas and eating areas for staff to physically distance.
  • Provide direction to customers:
  • The establishment must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by:
    • a distance of at least two metres, or
    • plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier (O Reg 364/20)
  • Rearrange and/or remove seating and tables, or mark them as unavailable to ensure physical distancing
  • Menus: single-use paper, online for customers’ mobile devices, menu-boards, chalkboards, or regular menus cleaned between uses.
  • Tables: do not pre-set tables; utensils should be rolled or packaged.
  • Table items: replace regular condiments with single-serve versions, or sanitise between uses, consider disposable napkins, etc.
  • Signage: post signs on handwashing, physical distancing, reporting symptoms, and make them visible to staff and customers.

Part 2: After Re-Opening

The following are recommended actions to be taken after opening your establishment for business:

Cleaning

  • Give attention to key touch points and objects (e.g. food contact surfaces, hand contact areas, door handles, switches, table tops, chairs, sneeze guards, restrooms, taps, utensils and dispensers).
  • Shared equipment such as credit card machines and cash registers.
  • Consider installing devices such as automatic doors and lights, electronic taps, etc.
  • Specify and obtain approved hard-surface cleaning materials. Thoroughly clean the premises before opening.
  • More details on cleaning and disinfection are available at Public Health Ontario’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.
  • Maintain cleaning and sanitation logs.

Customers and Staff

  • Supply dispensers for hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) to staff and customers, including at the door.
  • Minimise unnecessary contact between customers and staff (e.g. place clearly visible numbers on tables and ask customers to seat themselves. Minimise the time staff spend within two metres/six feet of customers).
  • Install directional arrows to direct employees and minimize direct contact.
  • Have staff practice physical distancing during breaks.
  • Assign staff to specific tasks and minimize contact between them.
  • Ensure staff have access to gloves and masks as needed.
  • Encourage frequent handwashing using the correct technique, and to avoid touching the face.
  • Keep a staff log of when and where staff worked, with contact information, in case it is required for contact tracing by public health.
  • The owner/operator, or another person appointed for that purpose, should be present and checking to ensure adherence to protocols.
  • Screening of staff for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in a food premises is critical. All measures must be taken to ensure staff are well before interacting with customers and colleagues. Ensure that active screening of each employee occurs before each shift using the Toronto Public Health screening questionnaire (By-law 665-2020). The questions can be completed on paper, online or by asking staff directly.
    • Do not allow staff members who are sick to come to work. If staff are sick they should go home and stay at home. They should also be advised to complete the COVID-19 self-assessment tool and/or contact their primary health provider and get tested.
  • Ensure that the number of customers permitted to be inside the establishment at any one time is limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres/six feet from every other person in the establishment, and must not exceed 100 customers indoors (subject to any exemptions as determined by the Medical Officer of Health or their designate) (By-law 665-2020).
  • Ensure that no more than 10 people are seated at each table in an indoor or outdoor area (By-law 665-2020).
  • Operators of an adult entertainment club, billiard hall, eating or drinking establishment, entertainment establishment/nightclub or place of amusement can apply to the City for an Indoor Dining Capacity Exemption.
  • Ensure customers are physically distancing while waiting; have them wait outdoors when necessary, but ensure that they do not impinge on the space of diners on the patio.
  • Customers who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 should be refused entry. Display posters telling customers if they have symptoms they cannot enter.
  • Customers must be seated at all times in any area of the establishment in which food or drink is permitted except:
    • while entering the area and going to their table
    • while placing or picking up an order
    • while paying for an order
    • while exiting the area
    • while going to or returning from a washroom
    • while lining up to do any of the above, or
    • where necessary for the purposes of health and safety (O Reg 364/20 and By-law 665-2020).
  • Make sure that tables are cleaned and sanitized at least daily and between sittings.
  • Consider opening doors and/or windows to increase ventilation.
  • Dancing, singing or performing music is prohibited at the establishment except:
    • A person or group under contract with the establishment may dance, sing or perform music in compliance with the requirements set out in O Reg 364/20
    • Members of the public may sing or perform music at the establishment if:
      • they are separated from every other person, including from other performers, by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier while singing or while performing on a brass or wind instrument;
      • they maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while singing or performing music; and
      • any equipment used by members of the public while singing or performing music is cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • It is advised to keep the volume of music, either live or recorded, at a reasonable level – one that does not cause customers to raise their voices or shout, thereby possibly increasing the risk of transmitting the virus.
  • Maintain a customer log (O Reg 364/20 and By-law 665-2020):
    The person responsible for the establishment must:

    • use the City’s customer log template to record the name(s) and contact information for every party who enters an indoor or outdoor dining area in the establishment, other than customers who temporarily enter the area to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order,
    • record the date, check in and check out times, and location of seating (table number or location of the premises) for each party
    • maintain the records for a period of at least one month, after which the information should be destroyed, and
    • only disclose the records to a Medical Officer of Health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
  • Post the Toronto Public Health notice of collection sign at all entrances (and at additional locations if required by the Medical Officer of Health or their designate), notifying the public about the collection of customer information.

Download and Print Posters for your Restaurant

Additional Resources

More Information

For more information, visit our website at www.toronto.ca/COVID19, email DineSafe@toronto.ca, or call us at 416-338-7600.


Download this information as a PDF.

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