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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - 3.17.20 Pt 2

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Corona Style. NYC on the verge of shelter-in-place, and 100 confirmed U.S. deaths.

Today’s Recap

  • Again today, we had many reports of confirmed cases - some of which are people who are actually sick but some turned out to have not been tested, not confirmed, maybe not even sick.
  • Many employers are looking for documentation supporting diagnosis. Unfortunately, health departments will not confirm positive lab results for us.
  • The CDC issued additional clinical guidance – much of it pointing to there being widespread community exposure now. The guidance reduces suggestions for casual contacts being quarantined.  We’re awaiting further clarification.    
  • More states joined the restaurant restrictions camp.  Florida’s governor issued an executive order requiring restaurants to remove 50% of seating and do employee health screening (symptom survey).   We’ve circulated a COVID-19 symptom survey in English and Spanish.  If you need it, please let us know.
  • Colorado implemented the following: Restaurants will not be permitted to serve customers for on-premises consumption beginning at 8:00 a.m. on March 17, 2020 and continuing for 30 days.  Although not permitted to serve food to be consumed inside the restaurant, customers are permitted to have food delivered via a delivery service or to pick up food using window service, drive up/through service or by entering the restaurant in limited numbers - i.e. 5 people may be inside the restaurant so long as they are at least six feet apart while they are on the premises of the restaurant. Thanks to our friends at Messner in Denver who provided the legal interpretation / clarification on this.  
  • And we passed 100 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

Figuring out what restrictions apply where continues to be challenging.  Here’s a good link to Washington state guidance (Washington’s challenges and the speed of the spread there lead them to take more restrictive action).

Mayor DeBlasio has indicated he is evaluating issuing a shelter in place order for all of New York City similar to what San Francisco and other counties in the Bay area did.

Your best questions of the day:

What should I do if a guest calls and claims to have gotten COVID-19 from us?

Good question and first time we were asked this was earlier today.  And then we were asked it again and again.  Our best guidance is to refer them to the local health department who will explain there is a worldwide pandemic affecting a large percentage of the US population.  There is not way to tell where someone got COVID-19 because there is such widespread illness now.

How do we address questions about the safety of takeout or delivered food?

There is no evidence of foodborne transmission of this illness.  There are some reports of lab tests showing coronavirus in fecal matter.  But again, not a single report anywhere of foodborne transmission.  We’re following extraordinarily good practices for safe food handling.  This illness is spread almost exclusively through person to person transmission.  A reporter from Eater asked me if it was safe to eat out as I was putting away the lunch leftovers and we were discussing a dinner order.

What’s the best idea a client has shared about boosting to-go business?

We love the idea of having one or two specials of the night (where you’re not trying to cook your entire menu) and pushing them as single or family meals.  Many of our clients reported reasonable to-go business last night.

Our best read of the day:

With so many people sick, worried about getting sick, economic instability all while isolated at home or working reduced schedules, mental health issues and anxiety come up in conversation frequently.  

Here’s an excellent read from the World Economic Forum sharing the insights of some of the top experts.

And tomorrow’s birthday (for your handwash singing pleasure):  Grover Cleveland, Queen Latifah and Adam Levine. For history buffs, the Panic of 1893 began during Grover Cleveland’s second term. Here’s hoping for history not to repeat itself.

Keep the questions coming.  

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