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What To Do if an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

Updated Washington, D.C. Guidance as of March 3rd, 2021

Steps to Take

  • STEP ONE: Call or email your local Department of Health and report the case.
    They can also provide specific guidance for your restaurant on how to handle operations and disinfecting.
    • DC: Email DC DOH; OR; Call 202-442-5955
    • VA:
      • Arlington County: Email Arlington Health; Call 703-228-7400
      • Fairfax County: Email VDH; Call 703-246-2411
      • City of Alexandria: Call 703-746-4951
      • Loudoun County: Email LCH; Call 703-777-0234
    • MD:
      • Maryland Guide to DOH by County: MDH
      • Montgomery County: Email MCH; Call 301-251-4850
      • Prince Georges County: Call 301-883-7879
  • STEP TWO: Determine if your restaurant needs to shut down for additional cleaning. According to the CDC, in most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. 
    • If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Your continued routine cleaning and disinfecting of all high-touch surfaces in the facility is sufficient. 
    • If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person. Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
    • CDC cleaning and sanitizing information can be found here
  • STEP THREE: Exclude the employee from the facility until cleared by their healthcare provider to return to work.
  • STEP FOUR: Notify employees that a co-worker they have been in contact with has tested positive for COVID-19. All employees from the food establishment that have come into contact with a positive case of COVID-19 should be restricted from the establishment.
  • STEP FIVE: Encourage employees who came in contact with the infected person to get tested. Testing Site Info: DC, VA, MD. For local rapid testing resources, click here. 

It is also recommended that you proactively contact your insurance agent before reopening to inquire as to whether you are covered for liability in the event a guest contracts COVID-19 and claims they became infected from your restaurant.