What should a food service operator do if an employee tests positive for CovidAs Covid-19/Omicron cases continue to spike in NYC, knowing what to do, who to inform, and what protocols to follow is critical in keeping everyone safe and getting back to business as soon as possible. 

What Should You Tell Your Employee If They Test Positive For Covid?

Tell your employee that they are required to quarantine for 10 days from Day 1.

  • If they have symptoms, Day 1 is the first full day after their symptoms developed.
  • If they have no symptoms, Day 1 is the first full day after the day that they tested positive.

When Can an Employee Return to Work if They Test Positive?

  • A negative test is not required to return to work.
  • Asymptomatic employees can return to work 10 days after the date of their positive test.
  • Symptomatic employees can only return to work after 10 days if it has been 24 hours since the employee last had a fever.

If There’s a Positive COVID-19 Case at Your Establishment, Who Do You Have to Inform?

  • All employees who were in close contact with the COVID-19 positive employee.
  • The State and City Departments of Health.
  • You are not required to inform employees if they were NOT in close contact with the infected individual.
  • Make sure to protect employee privacy, do not identify the names of individuals that tested positive to any other employee.
  • Report cases to the City here

 Who Is Considered a “Close Contact”?

  • anyone who had direct physical contact or,
  • was within six feet for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, with the infected individual.
  • 15 minutes is cumulative, three 5-minute exposures in 24 hours is also considered a close contact.

Who is Required to Quarantine After a Close Contact?

  • Employees who had close contact and have symptoms or
  • Employees that test positive, or
  • Employees that aren’t fully vaccinated

Do Fully Vaccinated Employees That Do NOT Have Symptoms Have To Quarantine, If They Had Close Contact With an Infected Individual? NO

  • They can continue to work.
  • They should wear a mask for 14 days or until they receive a negative test (which should be taken 3-5 days after the exposure).
  • They can take a test if they want, you do not need to pay for the test.
  • need to follow the quarantine and return-to-work process set forth above If they test positive

Are There Cleaning or Sterilization Requirements If Someone Tests Positive?

If someone that has been in the establishment within the last 24 hours tests positive for COVID, the CDC recommends the following:

  • close off all areas used by the individual,
  • wait several hours,
  • clean and disinfect the spaces that the individual occupied.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting should be done by management or preferably a professional company.

What Should You Do if an Employee Informs You That They Tested Positive Using a Home Test Kit?

  • You should require the employee to confirm the home test kit result with a PCR test
  • You will have to pay for the PCR test.

Can a Food Service Operator Require Employees And Guests To Wear Masks?

Although not required, because Key to NYC requires proof of vaccine for entry, it is recommended that all employees wear masks and, that you require all guests to wear masks when they are not eating or drinking.