Post-Pandemic Re-opening Checklist

Updated: Aug 6

Many of you have been closed entirely for many months, some reducing capacity a lot and just doing takeout. If this sounds like you, you'll want to check equipment, maybe reinstall the dishwasher you lease and pull out the covered, dusty bowls and plates.

Here's a list to get you thinking - additionally, a printable checklist from the FDA.


Back of House

  1. Check handwashing sinks for soap, warm water, and paper towels. Double wash hands!

  2. With a wet cloth and wipe down all surfaces, including equipment. Soap and water are a great start.

  3. Check that your sanitizer test strips have not expired. It is written on the label.

  4. Mix up sanitizer, either chlorine or quaternary ammonium, check for accurate strength and wipe down all food contact surfaces, including sinks.

  5. Check your thermometer is still accurate by putting it into an ice bath. You want the ice bath to be mostly ice with a bit of cold water. Let that mix sit for a minute. Put your thin-tipped thermometer in the mix. You want it to read 32F.

  6. Plug in all refrigerators and place a cup of water inside each one. After 24 hours, use your calibrated thermometer to test the water. The water/refrigerator temperature must be 41F or less. Give the units a few days to level out if you are adjusting the dial yourself.

  7. Check the chemicals and run the dishwasher. If you are using chlorine, it might have lost its strength. Use your test strips. For chlorine, it is 50 - 200PPM to be effective.

  8. Send all your small wares, plates, flat wear, and glass wear through the dishwasher.

  9. Sweep and mop floors.

A facility that has been closed is preparing to reopen. Service technician evaluating where the old dishwasher was; coolers unplugged; and dishes covered for the last year.

Front of House

  1. Wipe down surfaces, equipment, tables, and chairs. Sanitize if you'd like.

  2. Sweep or vacuum floors in the dining room.

  3. Check condiments if they have been sitting for a few months.

  4. If the ice machine has been off for months, clean and sanitize.

  5. Wipe down and sanitize the restrooms.

We know it is challenging and frustrating to navigate the post-pandemic protocols. I have heard several facilities I inspect are going back to take out only, with the Delta variant spreading quickly. Your inspectors are here to answer questions, share resources, and send you to websites that can help you stay up-to-date on current guidelines. Please do not hesitate to reach out. Click here to send us an email. Hang in there!

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