Are you organizing a concession stand with volunteers in your community? A written plan can be very helpful, especially during this time of COVID-19. Being aware of all applicable local, state and federal regulations and public health agency guidelines for COVID-19 as well as food safety is very important. Consulting with local health agencies as you develop or revise plans can be very beneficial.
Here a few items to consider that are specific to COVID-19 and concession stands:
- The CDC recommends that people wear masks in public and when around people who do not live in the same household. Follow all applicable local, state, and federal regulations and public health agency guidelines on mask use.
- Communicate to volunteers that they should not help if they are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone that has COVID-19.
- Keep the number of volunteers to a minimum and exercise physical distancing between volunteers whenever possible.
- Consider separate concession stands or service areas for home and visiting teams/spectators.
- Ensure the concession stand is adequately stocked with soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer and supplies for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
- Encourage and provide access to handwashing and hand-sanitizing stations for volunteers as well as customers.
- Discontinue self-service of food, drinks, condiments, utensils, etc.
- Do not offer refills.
- Consider limiting menu items or only offering prepackaged foods and drinks.
- Use gloves, tongs, or deli-sheets to avoid touching food with bare hands.
- Clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces frequently.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently using an EPA-approved product against the virus that causes COVID-19. Follow recommendations on the product label.
- If allowed, household bleach may be used as a disinfectant with a concentration of 1000 ppm on surfaces for minimum of one minute: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
- Find ways to encourage spacing between customers while in line for service – signage, floor/ground markings, etc.
- If possible, encourage one-way traffic flow.
- Consider barriers such as clear plastic between volunteers and customers if practical.
- Modify seating areas to promote physical distancing.
Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronaviruses generally spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets. It may be possible that people can become infected with COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouths, noses, or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Here are posters, videos and additional resources that can be used for promoting food safety at concession stands.
Best Practices for Re-Opening Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Food and Drug Administration
Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Food and Drug Administration
Covid-19 Guidance: Food Concession Stands for Schools and Temporary Events, South Dakota Department of Health
Food Safety for Food Stands and Restaurants in the COVID-19 Era, Kansas State Extension
How to Wear Masks, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Restaurant, Bar, Tavern, Clubs, & Bowling Alley In-Room Guidelines, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Statewide Sports Reopening Guidelines, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
This article has been peer-reviewed.