Guidelines for Food Take-out Premises During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that can cause respiratory illness. For updated information about COVID-19, visit

Food take-out premises are part of the essential businesses that can remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. These facilities are still required to follow the requirements in the Food Premises Regulation 493/17. To further reduce the risk of spreading the disease we are recommending these facilities implement the following recommendations below.

Recommendations for Food Take-out Premises:

  • Post signs at all entrances directing those that are sick to not enter.
  • Post, at every public entrance to the premises, prominent and clearly visible signage about the mask requirement. A sample sign is available on the EOHU’s website at
  • Provide portable handwashing stations or hand sanitizer at the entrance of the facility.
  • Require the use of masks or face coverings (non-medical masks such as cloth masks) in public areas of the premise and when keeping two metres’ distance from co-workers and patrons may be challenging or not possible.
  • Limit the number of people coming into the facility in order to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet (e.g. no loitering/gathering of people anywhere in the establishment and limiting it to 5 people or fewer while they wait for their food inside).
  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres between people within the store (e.g. consider placing tape on the floor to indicate 2 metres distance between individuals at food order/cash line-up areas, etc.).
  • Limit store hours to properly clean and disinfect all areas of the facility.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and equipment frequently (e.g. door handles, counters, handles on freezer/cooler doors, touch screen surfaces, etc.).
  • Washrooms provided for patrons and employees must be cleaned and disinfected on a more frequent schedule.
  • Clean and disinfect the debit machines after each customer.
  • Remove self-serve food items (e.g. pastries, buns, hot food items, condiments, etc.). These items can be prepackaged or may be served by a designated operator.
  • Use disposable food take-out containers/utensils.
  • Food samples are not to be provided to patrons.
  • Ill staff must stay away from work. Plan for staff absences.
  • For questions on home isolation or COVID-19, please visit

Recommendations for Handwashing & Single-Use Glove Use:

  • Proper handwashing is the best method to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Increased handwashing by staff: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Non-food handlers can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if their hands aren’t visibly soiled.
  • Glove use is not recommended. If facilities have an extra supply of gloves or other Personal Protective Equipment, they can be donated to front line healthcare workers. For more information visit
  • If glove use is chosen, it is important to change them every hour or more often as necessary. Hands must be washed and/or sanitized between changes. Remember to remove gloves when leaving the cash or changing tasks. When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time.

Personal protection measures recommended by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people: Keep a distance of 2 metres between people.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Prominently post reminders to wash hands frequently.
  • Be aware of the most current, credible public health information/recommendations and communicate these to your staff and customers.

If you are not able to follow the recommendations listed above, contact your Public Health Inspector to discuss alternate options to reduce the potential risk to your staff and patrons.

Ontario Ministry of Health:
Enhanced Measures to Protect Ontarians from COVID-19, March 16, 2020  
COVID-19 Guidance for Food Premises
Public Health Ontario:
Corona Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings, March 12, 2020
Eastern Ontario Health Unit:  
Hand Disinfection Method for Hand Sanitizers
Mandatory Mask Directive for Enclosed Public Spaces

Adapted and reproduced with permission from Durham Region Health Department.

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario