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CFIC is continuing to monitor the federal, state, and local response as it pertains to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the grocery industry. Please let us know if we can assist you in any way.

Recommended Protocols When a Food Industry Employee/Customer Tests Positive for COVID- 19

State Response

North Carolina:

  • For a comprehensive, up-to-date spreadsheet on local restrictions, click here.
  • NC Executive Order 116 (issued March 10): Declaration of State of Emergency; Waives Trucking Requirements
  • NC Executive Order 117 (issued March 14): Closes all K-12 Schools and Prohibits Mass Gatherings over 100 People. A mass gathering does not include office environments, restaurants, factories, grocery stores or other retail establishments.
  • NC Executive Order 118 (issued March 17): Limits operations of restaurants and bars. Signage is available here.
  • NC Executive Order 119 (issued March 20): Facilitates critical motor vehicle operations; expands access to health care
  • NC Executive Order 120 (issued March 23): Extends K-12 closure until May 15; Prohibits Mass Gatherings over 50 People; closes “non-essential” businesses such as gyms, salons, movie theaters. The restrictions to do not include office environments, restaurants, factories, grocery stores or other retail establishments.

Businesses that have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 should immediately contact their local Department of Health (here is the link to all 100 county public health departments).

Taxpayers are encouraged to file their taxes online. Most taxpayers can file online for free at: www.NCDOR.gov/NCfreefile
NCDOR online services: www.ncdor.gov
NCDOR phone numbers: General information: 1-877-252-3052; Individual income tax refund inquiries: 1-877-252-4052

South Carolina:

The South Carolina Department of Commerce has provided this Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC). If you are concerned about coronavirus, or are experiencing respiratory or flulike symptoms, you, or your employees, can visit with a medical professional who can provide a virtual screening for you at www.MUSC.Care.

Recommended Precautions from the CDC

The CDC website advises employers to:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
    • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Separate sick employees:
    • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
    • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

OSHA Standards

There is no specific federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard covering COVID-19. However, some OSHA requirements may apply to preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19. Among the most relevant are:

  • OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards (in general industry, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I), which require using gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection.
    • When respirators are necessary to protect workers, employers must implement a comprehensive respiratory protection program in accordance with the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
  • The General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1)of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, 29 USC 654(a)(1), which requires employers to furnish to each worker “employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

Helpful Links

Food Marketing Institute Coronavirus and Pandemic Preparedness for the Food Industry
National Retail Federation Coronavirus Resources for Retailers
CDC Situation Summary
NC Department of Health and Human Services Update
NC Department of Health and Human Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control Quick Facts
OSHA Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus
EPA Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus
CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for households with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

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