Food for Thought Blog
Guidelines to Successfully Re-Open Food Programs in Waterloo Region
As the community navigates returning to work, the re-opening of many businesses and looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic; we have been working closely with the Region of Waterloo to ensure the safe re-opening of emergency food programs in Waterloo Region.
In March, The Food Bank adjusted and adapted our operations – in response to the pandemic and ongoing state-of-emergency – to ensure the continuation of essential services offered throughout Waterloo Region. In collaboration with the Region of Waterloo Community Services and the Public Health and Emergency Services departments, we activated the Community Food Assistance Network Pandemic Business Continuity Plan. This plan – which recommended that non-vital service providers temporarily closed their programs to reduce health risks – was designed to mobilize local resources ensuring continued delivery of essential services. Currently under this plan, 14 vital service providers and community meal programs providing lunch and dinner every day continue to operate.
To ensure the safe re-opening of the 100+ community programs and agency partners within the Community Food Assistance Network, we have been working closely with the Region of Waterloo Public Health Emergency Services to develop the COVID-19 Guidelines for Re-Opening Food Programs, which provides detailed guidelines for food programs to consider when re-opening.
The guidelines focus on the processes and procedures that should be put in place to support the health and safety of staff, volunteers and community members visiting community programs and agency partners, including:
- Providing programs in spaces that support physical distancing.
- Ensuring hand hygiene supplies and personal protective equipment are available.
- Increased cleaning and disinfection while offering programs, as well as a thorough cleaning of the facilities after the program is closed.
- Screening volunteers and staff supporting before entry into facility space.
For additional information, please read the COVID-19 Guidelines for Re-Opening Food Programs.