Frequently Asked Questions

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 appears to occur mainly by respiratory transmission. How easily the virus is transmitted between persons is currently unclear. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Based on the incubation period of illness for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses, as well as observational data from reports of travel-related COVID-19, CDC estimates that symptoms of COVID-19 occur within 2–14 days after exposure.

Preliminary data suggest that older adults and persons with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems might be at greater risk for severe illness from this virus.

Both the coronavirus and influenza are most dangerous to people who are older than 65, or have chronic illnesses or a weak immune system.

The declaration directs the state Emergency Management Agency to “create and establish mobile support units” and authorizes the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Christopher P. Callahan, “to order Rhode Island National Guard members to state active duty, if necessary, to assist in the response” to the outbreak.

The State of Emergency allows the Governor to take certain actions, such as preventing price gouging of certain items and allow employees who might be sick, to access unemployment and TDI/TCI benefits. It also gives the State of Rhode Island more access to federal funding.

Read Governor Raimondo’s Executive Order here

Please see these updated guidelines for take-out and delivery as of 3.16.2020.

Takeout and Delivery Food Safety Guidelines

The CDC suggests that people take the same steps they would to keep from getting the flu: get a flu vaccine, take everyday preventative actions – like washing your hands often – and see a doctor when you are sick.

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued guidance for preparing a workplace for COVID-19 that include tips for preventing the spread of the virus and steps to reduce workers’ risk of exposure.

On March 3, the EPA released a list of registered disinfectant products that have qualified under its emerging viral pathogen program for use again SARS-CoV-2. You can find the list here.

It is still unknown if or how the coronavirus will impact the foodservice supply chain. Many organizations and researchers are monitoring developments.

According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”

The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home when sick. Employers should encourage employees to stay home if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

In 2018, Rhode Island passed the Paid Sick and Safe Leave Act, entitling most employees to forty hours of Paid Sick leave. Please review your Paid Sick leave policy with your employees.

Learn more

Answer right now is: Notify Food Protection at the RI Department of Health – 401 222-2749

The CDC and local health departments are meeting on Monday to develop additional protocols.

If you’re business is shut down due to a quarantine, please contact RIHA directly.

Make sure that you review your cancellation policies and contracts. If you need to make changes, make sure to communicate these changes to your staff and guests.

Staff should be instructed on how to handle people calling with questions.

You should contact your insurance companies to see what type of insurance coverage is available to you.
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