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SIPH recommends strict adherence to public health guidance

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Southeastern Idaho Public Health is not recommending food establishments close at this time but follow strict adherence to public health guidance.

“With this rapidly changing situation, we are not recommending food establishment closure at this time,” said Maggie Mann, Southeastern Idaho Public Health District Director. “However, restaurant owners must take steps to help to keep customers and employees healthy.”

For food establishments that continue to offer indoor dining, food establishments must take the following steps:

  • Post signs at their entrance asking patrons to go home if they are sick.
  • Increase their cleaning frequency.
  • Require frequent hand washing.
  • Put prevention signage in restrooms and common spaces.
  • Increase space between tables to 6 ft.
  • Make sure alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available for customer use.
  • Encourage food delivery or pick-up options.
  • Eliminate crowded spaces. For example, have customers wait in their cars until their table is ready.
  • Do not encourage people to congregate at your facility. Quarantine parties are strongly discouraged and may result in more formal action from Southeastern Idaho Public Health.

In addition to customer’s health, food establishments should be concerned for the health of their employees as well. Employers can take steps to ensure the health of their employees by doing the following:

  • Encourage them to stay home if they are sick.
  • Review and follow their illness policies.
  • Develop non-punitive leave policies to support those who are sick and need to stay at home.
  • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or return to work.
  • Ensure flexible policies that permit employees to stay home if someone in their family is sick.

In order to support local food establishments, while at the same time protecting your health, your family’s health, and community’s health, we strongly encourage you to utilize drive through, pick up, or delivery options. In addition, we encourage you to patronize establishments that are helping to protect our community by following the public health recommendations identified above.

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