Medical Partners

COVID-19 Protocols For Restaurant & Food Services

The Government of Ontario and Toronto Public Health have implemented guidelines with regards to protecting the health and safety of Ontario's facilities during COVID-19. These are recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards and are intended to assist administrators in providing a safe and healthy facility or venue.

No Wait Medical Partners focuses on the need to follow appropriate guidelines during work shifts and while at home.

General Responsibilities

Assess the hazards to which your staff, workers, and visitors may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure and select, implement, and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure. Follow local public health for location specific instructions.

1. Implement Basic Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Measures

-Hand Hygiene

  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including providing employees and customers with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, foam alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) containing 70-90% alcohol should be provided. Regular hand washing or using of alcohol-based hand rubs are necessary. Hands should be washed when they are visibly soiled and after removing any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

  • Provide resources and environment that promotes personal hygiene, including tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, disinfectants, and disposable towels to clean surfaces. Post hand washing signs in restrooms. Ensure clean toilet and hand washing facilities. Fill hand sanitizer dispensers regularly. Disinfect frequently touched items, including door pulls and toilet seats often.

-Respiratory Etiquette

  • The importance of covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue should be emphasized. Afterwards, throw the tissue away into the trash and perform hand hygiene.

  • Avoid touching the face, especially with unwashed hands.

-Source Control

  • Staff and visitors should wear non-medical masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus, though it is not PPE.

  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children younger than 2 years old, anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without help, and people who cannot tolerate them based on underlying health and/or behavioral issues.

  • Regularly check local public health for information regarding masks. Some areas, such as Toronto, have mandatory indoor masking bylaws.

-Enhanced Sanitation

  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the environment. When equipment must be shared, instruct staff and older children to use alcohol-based wipes to clean before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, staff should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE).

  • Disinfection may be done with chlorine bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface. Prepare chlorine bleach solutions according to label instructions, or in a ratio of 5 mL bleach per 250 mL of water. When using the prepared solution, allow a minimum of two minutes contact time and let air dry. Prepare fresh chlorine bleach solution daily, or twice a day if it is kept outside.

  • Develop a disinfection schedule or routine plan, especially for high contact areas like restrooms. Ensure sufficient stocks of cleaning and disinfecting supplies to accommodate ongoing cleaning and disinfection. High touch areas should be cleaned and disinfected (e.g. doorknobs, display cases, equipment handles) more frequently, at least twice daily and when visibly soiled). Plexiglass barriers should be cleaned routinely (e.g. daily) using a cleaning agent that will not compromise the structural integrity or function of the barrier.


2. Hazard Controls


  • Offer contactless payment options such as e-transfer, tap, credit and debit. If using a debit machine, sanitize after each use or use a replaceable covering.

-Engineering/System Controls

  • Space out furniture to facilitate physical distancing. In washrooms, close every other stall, sink, or urinal.

  • Install partition barriers such as plexiglass when physical distancing is not an option.

  • Maximize the outdoor air ratio of the heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and ensure they are up to American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards.

-Administrative Controls

  • Physical Distancing

    • Calculate maximum capacity by using one person per every 4 square metres of publicly accessible space to allow for 2 metres of distance between individuals.

    • Assign staff to monitor and manage lines inside and outside the venue, and to remind guests to keep 2 metres apart.

    • Minimize traffic flow in common spaces (e.g. hallway markers, limit number of people in elevators).

    • Stagger shifts, breaks, arrivals, and departures to allow for physical distancing and more cleaning time. Minimize the need for waiting by spreading out reservation times.

  • Sanitation

    • Provide easily acceptable waste receptacles for used wipes and other disposable protective equipment.

    • Increase the frequency of commonly touched surfaces. Remove nonessential frequently touched items (i.e., books, service menus, pens).

  • Circulation

    • Improve circulation inside by opening windows and doors. To prevent blowing droplets onto people and surfaces, limit the use of low ceiling fans and refrain from using pedestal fans.

-Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • PPE can be used by trained personnel to lower the risk of transmission as a last option if other controls are not sufficient.

  • Gloves are not a substitute for regular handwashing. Before donning and doffing gloves, hands should be washed for 15 seconds. If used, they should be changed at least every hour, when changing tasks, and after touching the face or an item that may have germs. Use a new pair of gloves after removing the old pair.

3. Screening

  • Everyone regardless of symptoms should wear a cloth face covering until leaving the facility when activities permit.

  • Post screening information on a website, send an email containing screening requirements, or consider mailing by post if the client does not have access to the other methods.

  • Active Screening

    • Facilities should identify individuals with fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

    • Screeners should be behind an engineering barrier such as a plexiglass screen. If that is not possible, they should maintain a 2 metre distance from the person they are screening and wear droplet/contact precaution PPE such as gloves, gown, surgical mask, and eye protection. Have ABHR, tissues, and a no-touch lined waste basket available.

  • Passive Screening

    • Post signage for passive screening at entry points for people to self-identify if they screen positive.

  • Symptoms/Positive Screen

    • Anyone with symptoms or recent close contact with someone who tested positive should be encouraged to self-isolate and get tested, or call telehealth (1-866-797-0000).

    • Staff or patrons who become unwell in the facility should be instructed to separate themselves from others, leave the facility using private transportation if possible, self-isolate, and get tested at an assessment centre.

  • Contact Tracing

    • Keep names, contact information, dates, times, and location of where the individual was for public health tracing purposes.

    • Keep this information for 30 days in a protected manner, such as in a locked drawer or office, then destroy the information afterwards.

4. Testing

More instructions can be found at the COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance Update.

  • Symptomatic

    • Whenever symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are present, a test is recommended.

  • Asymptomatic & Risk Based

    • Should be done when the person is in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, is part of an outbreak investigation.

  • Positive Tests

    • Employers must report occupationally acquired infections within 72 hours of receiving notice to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Employers who receive notice that their worker has tested positive due to workplace exposure must give notice to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Workplace's joint health and safety committee (or health and safety representative), and Worker's trade union, if applicable, within four days.

No Wait Medical Partners enables safe and timely triage, antibody testing, monitoring, contact tracking and containment of suspected or confirmed COVID 19 positive employees. No Wait Medical Partners contributes to limiting exposure and risk management and enables contact tracing for suspected COVID-19 positive employees.

5. Support for Employees

  • Mental health support should be provided to all employees, including access to an employee (and family) assistance program (EAP/EFAP) if available. Additional comping resources include the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Canadian Mental Health Association. Emergency communications plans should be developed, including a forum for answering employees' concerns and internet-based communications, if feasible. Other support factors to consider include parenting, meals, and non-punitive sick policies.

No Wait Medical Partners is available to provide psychological supports, including mental health support, and psychoeducation.

Right one: No wait medical could help find a third-party mental health provider upon request.

6. Education

  • General Education

    • Post signs covering social distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and COVID-19 signs and symptoms.

  • Staff Training

    • Training should be conducted in languages spoken by workers.

    • Staff should be trained on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 with an explanation of how the disease is potentially spread, including the fact that infected people can spread the virus even if they do not have symptoms.

    • Provide staff with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g., cough etiquette, proper hygiene practices, and care of PPE). Staff should clearly be instructed on mandatory masking policy, and understand who is exempted, with proof of exemption not being required.

    • Train staff who need to use protecting clothing and equipment, and on how to examine it, put it on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, within the context of their current and potential duties. Content should emphasize having clean hands before facial contact. Training should be conducted virtually or maintain social distancing.

    • Gloves are not a substitute for regular handwashing. Before donning and doffing gloves, hands should be washed for 15 seconds. If used, they should be changed at least every hour, when changing tasks, and after touching the face or an item that may have germs. Use a new pair of gloves after removing the old pair.

    • Emphasis should be placed on the need for staff to report any safety and health concerns.

7. Absenteeism

  • Flexible sick leave policies should allow staff to stay at home in the event of sickness, possible exposure, or caring for someone who is sick. Evaluate whether the work duties can be done through telework. Before returning to work, staff should notify their Occupational Health and Safety Department.

  • Administration should inform and encourage staff to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.

  • Staff who have symptoms should notify their supervisor and be encouraged to stay home, and a note from their healthcare provider does not need to be provided in order to validate illness, or their ability to return to work. Sick leave policies should be flexible and consistent with public health guidance and with No Wait Medical Partners, and employees should be made aware of these policies. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with No Wait Medical Partners. Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting employees and customers.

  • Staff who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and consult with No Wait Medical Partners regarding the mandatory precautions. Policies should permit employees to stay home to care for sick family members, including sick children or children who are in schools or day care centers that have been closed, or who have immunocompromised family members, and are afraid to come to work because of fear of possible exposure.

  • Staff concerns about pay, leave, safety, health, and other issues that may arise during infectious disease outbreaks should be addressed, and employers are encouraged to work with insurance companies (e.g., those providing employee health benefits) and local health agencies to provide information to staff and families about medical care in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

No Wait Medical Partners will provide daily follow up on employees who are self-isolating at home, and on what their expected return to work dates will be.

Food Service

1. Prevent Contamination

  • Use prepackaged foods whenever possible. Self-service foods such as buffet-style and unpacked bulk goods are not permitted at this time. Cover food and utensils using guards to prevent contamination.

  • Discourage handling of foods by customers and refrain from handling a customer's reusable bags or containers.

  • Continue to follow Ontario's Food Premises regulations, such as keeping internal temperature of foods at less than 4 Celsius or greater than 60 Celsius.

2. Farmers' & Fresh Food Markets

  • Purchases

    • Encourage alternate methods such as online or pickup.

    • Use contactless transactions like debit or credit.

    • Use a counter or side table to allow customers to pick up goods without coming within 2 metres of the vendor.

  • Create one-way pathways

    • Monitor entrances and exits for traffic.

    • Use barriers and structures to direct traffic.

    • Assign staff to allow entries based on a capacity that allows for 2 metres of physical distancing between individuals.

3. Food Banks

  • Ensure disinfectants are being used according to manufacturer instructions and have a DIN. Chlorine bleach may also be used.

  • Schedule donation drop-offs with clients. Organize donations into smaller boxes or bags for ease of delivery. If possible, avoid entering the client's home unless they are unable to carry packages themselves.

  • Always take IPAC measures such as wearing a mask or face covering, practicing respiratory etiquette, and refraining from touching the face.

4. Food Stores

  • Communicate to customers using signage for passive screening. People who are symptomatic, have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and who have been outside Canada within the past 14 days should not enter.

  • Designate a contact person for people to forward their concerns to. Information on protective measures being taken should be made available on store websites, emails, newspapers, and over the PA system.

  • Have 70-90% ABHR at entrances and throughout the store for customer use.

  • Positive Tests

    • If a staff member or customer tests positive, it is not necessary to discard the food they have touched.

    • Keep a staff work log with time in, time out, and locations for public health.

  • Elimination/Substitution

    • Refrain from using grocery dividers; use distancing measures.

    • Provide clean bags, or have customers bag their own groceries.

    • Use contactless transaction methods such as credit or debit.

    • Offer alternatives such as online or telephone grocery orders with delivery or curbside pickup.

  • Engineering/System Controls

    • Install plexiglass barriers when interaction is expected within 2 metres, such as at checkouts.

  • Administrative Controls

    • Clean and disinfect shopping carts and baskets after each use. Have clear drop off areas for used carts or baskets. Consider providing wipes for customers to disinfect their own baskets.

    • Allow vulnerable populations the option of a different time to grocery shop.

5. Mobile Food Premises

  • Elimination/Substitution

    • Provide individual, pre-portioned packets of condiments, or apply condiments as per the customer's order instead of communal service containers or squeeze bottles.

    • Encourage customers to take food home instead of staying on premises.

    • Only provide washrooms for events where patrons would be staying for an extended duration.

  • Engineering/System Controls

    • Install structures where customers would interact with employees, such as at counters.

    • Food trucks/carts should have a fully operational hot and cold-water hand washing basin with wastewater collection and required supplies for handwashing.

  • Food trucks/carts should have a fully operational hot and cold-water hand washing basin with wastewater collection and required supplies for handwashing.

    • Food trucks/carts should have a fully operational hot and cold-water hand washing basin with wastewater collection and required supplies for handwashing.

  • Administrative Controls

    • Physical Distancing

      • Use a numbering system to prevent crowding.

      • Distance mobile vendors by using pylons for assigned spaces.

      • Assign employees to manage people (e.g. physical distancing reminders, crowd control, access points).

    • Sanitation

      • Assign one employee to be responsible for all transactions. They should clean and sanitize all surfaces after each interaction and perform hand hygiene with soap and water.

      • For a hot dog cart, this may include assigning one employee to process all cash transactions or accepting exact change only into a container.

6. Restaurants, Bars, and Other Food Service Premises

Venues serving food and drink must comply with regulations for restaurants and bars. Indoor dining is not permitted in Stage 2 areas such as Toronto. Guests must remain seated within areas serving food and drink, except to use the washroom, ordering, arriving, departing, or for health and safety reasons. Prepackaged or plated meals are preferred; self-serve and communal food services are not permitted in Stage 2.

Establishments selling or serving liquor under a license or a special occasion permit must ensure that liquor is sold or served between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. only and no liquor is consumed between 12 a.m. (e.g. midnight) and 9 a.m. Establishments, with exceptions for takeout, deliveries, and washroom usage, must close by 12 a.m. until 5 a.m.

  • Initial Assessment

    • Discard food that is unsafe to eat, such as expired products. Check for signs of pest activity and consider consulting a licensed pest management company to inspect the premises.

    • Clean, disinfect, and sanitize all food contact surfaces. Clean and disinfect non-food contact surfaces, especially high touch areas (e.g. door handles, touchscreens, equipment).

    • Equipment such as cold and hot holding facilities, washing machines, facets, and flush pipes should be inspected for functionality.

    • Supplies for garbage disposal, manual dishwashing, washrooms, cleaning, and disinfection should be stocked and readily available.

    • Train staff on new policies. Ensure staff know that screening must be done before the start of each shift and know the policies on mask wearing for the establishment.

  • Communication

    • Post clear signage for order stations, pick up areas, and mobile order pick up areas. Clearly indicate on floors where to line up and keep 2 metres away from others.

    • Post posters for social distancing, face masking, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette at highly visible locations. Post notice of collection signs at entrances.

    • Ensure patrons know that face masks are mandatory unless they are seated and eating or drinking.

    • Record the date, check in, check out, location of eating, and contact information for each seated party. Protect this information for 30 days and then destroy it.

  • Infection Prevention

    • Physical distancing between customers and staff must be maintained unless an impermeable barrier is used. If physical distancing is not feasible, staff must wear masks. Allow for rearranged pick up, such as a serving area, to maintain distance.

    • Replace menus with single use paper, boards, online for customer's phones or clean between uses. Replace table items with single serve variations of the items or sanitize between uses. Use disposable napkins.

    • Maintain cleaning and sanitation logs. Ensure frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces with appropriate disinfectants as per basic IPAC measures.

  • Patio Dining

    • Coverings (e.g. roof, canopy, tent, awning) must leave two full sides of the dining area open to the outdoors and not blocked by any impermeable physical elements. The recommended height of the covering is 3 metres or higher, with coverings higher off the ground preferred.

    • If the outdoor dining area has retractable roof, the roof must fully be retracted, and one full side of the dining area must be open and not blocked by any impermeable physical elements.

    • Create severe weather contingency plans that allow patrons to go inside for temporary shelter, pack their meal for takeout, pay for their meals, and dine indoors if physical distancing can be maintained.

  • Stage 2

    • In Toronto, no more than 6 people may be seated at a single table.

    • Ensure individuals wear their masks while indoors and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

    • Refuse entry to customers who show symptoms of COVID-19 and have passive screening posters.

    • Volume must be maintained at a level of a normal conversation.

  • Stage 3

    • If the event is indoors, capacity is capped at 50; if the event is outdoors the maximum is 100. Indoor-outdoor events are limited to 50 people.

    • Members of the public may sing or perform if they are not in a private karaoke room, separated from other people by an impermeable barrier, maintain 2 metre physical distancing from other people, and clean and disinfect equipment between each use.

    • Patrons must remain seated unless for the purposes of going to the bathroom, entering, exiting, ordering, paying, or health and safety.

    • Limit tables to 10 patrons, with 4-6 being the recommended number.

7. Student Nutrition Programs

  • Minimize handling of food, especially if proportioned servings are not possible beforehand, such as teachers portioning food onto individual plates after performing hand hygiene.

  • Minimize hand contact with foods by using individual utensils.

  • Use trays or bins to minimize hand contact of food, such as trays for apples. Ensure bins are covered to protect food from contamination. Ensure staff, volunteers, and students wash their hands with soap and water, or a 70 to 90% ABHR before picking up trays or bins from the food preparation area. Trays and bins should be cleaned and sanitized after each use, when visibly dirty, and every day if it stored in a location where people can touch it.

Staff Guidelines

  • Employees can protect themselves and their co-workers from COVID-19 by taking IPAC measures. Employees are encouraged to forward any questions or concerns that they may have to No Wait Medical Partners.

Protecting Yourself and Others

-Hand Hygiene

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if soap and water are not immediately available, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rubbing hands until they are dry. Avoid touching your face.
    COVID-19 Guidlines

    Click here

-Respiratory Etiquette

  • Follow the proper guidelines for covering coughs and sneezing (i.e., sneezing or coughing into a tissue or into the upper sleeve). Always wear a face mask while in the workplace, and the mask should cover your nose and mouth. Learn how to properly put on, use/wear, and take off protective clothing and equipment.

  • If possible, wear cloth face coverings protect others in case the wearer is unknowingly infected. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on babies and children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without help.

-Social Distancing

  • Maintain 6-feet of social distancing as work duties permit, and avoid physical contact with others, including other staff, students, or campers.

  • Use alternatives ways to shake hands upon entry, and it is important to not touch your face (i.e., mouth, nose, eyes).

  • Drive to facilities or parking areas individually; when possible, an avoid having passengers or foods.

  • Use gloves to avoid direct bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

  • -Daily-health checks

    • Determine if you have fever, respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing, shortness of breath) or other symptoms in the past 24 hours. If so, stay at home and notify the COVID-19 point of contact.

    What should I do if I become ill?

    • Notify your supervisor and No Wait Medical Partners immediately, complete the self-assessment (self-checker).


    Below are some resources on government approved guidelines around proper hygiene and cleaning practices, and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19.

    Environmental Cleaning

    Infection Prevention and Control



    COVID-19 Fact Sheet

    Mental Health Support

    Non-Medical Masks


    Sample Log Sheets

    City of Toronto. COVID-19 guidance: Food premises (City of Toronto guidelines)

    Government of Ontario. Restaurant and food services health and safety during COVID-19 (Coaches Ontario guidelines)

    Government of Ontario. Rules for areas in stage 3 (Ontario guidelines)

    Ottawa Public Health. COVID-19 guidelines for reopening your food establishment (Ottawa guidelines)

    Region of Waterloo. Re-opening mobile/temporary food services (Waterloo guidelines)

    Restaurants Canada. COVID-19 reopening best practices (Restaurants guidelines)

    Toronto Public Health. COVID-19 guidelines for re-opening your restaurant, bar and other food service premises (Toronto guidelines)