Apr 11, 2020 - Health

New FDA coronavirus guidelines focus on protecting food service workers

Sign in a store requiring customers to wear masks to enter

Photo: Braulio Jatar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has released new guidelines on best practices for supermarkets and food retailers with an emphasis on protecting employees in the workplace.

Why it matters: The FDA's new guidelines come days after major supermarkets started reporting their first employee deaths since the coronavirus outbreak began, per The Washington Post. Some critics blame major chains for not allowing workers to use protective gear from the get-go.

  • The outbreak has forced major stores to close their doors, with anxiety among employees who may have come in contact with the virus.
  • The rise in worker infections and deaths could hinder companies' ability to hire and retain grocery store workers as they try to hire temporary employees.

The new guidelines recommend: An emphasis on employers communicating with employees about any possible exposure to the coronavirus.

  • Employees should communicate with their employers if they are positive for the coronavirus, or have come in contact with somebody who is positive.
  • Employers should pre-screen workers before the start of their shifts, and employees should constantly self-monitor.
  • Workspaces and equipment should be constantly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Employees should wear masks and gloves. They should also try to stay at least 6 feet from other people whenever possible.

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