COVID-19 transmission from handling reusable containers such as grocery bags, coffee mugs, dollar bills, coins, bulk bins and other reusable items HAS NOT BEEN DOCUMENTED. There are transmissions linked to touching shared surfaces, such as elevator buttons or lids of garbage cans.
Because the risk is low, premises may go back to normal activities as long as practices known to reduce overall risk are maintained.
Permitted activities include:
- accept and fill reusable coffee mugs and water bottles,
- allow reusable containers for take-away per provincial policy (must be described in food premises food safety or sanitation plan)
- allow reusable grocery bags,
- pack grocery bags for customers requiring assistance,
- allow customer self-serve of bakery items, beverages, utensils and other items,
- accept cash in the form of bills and coins,
- accept returnable cans and bottles for deposit, and
- put menus, salt and pepper shakers, ketchup bottles etc. back onto the table, and ensure cleaning occurs regularly.
Practices recommended include:
- cleaning of highly touched surfaces per the sanitation plan,
- frequent hand-washing,
- providing hand hygiene for customers,
- maintain physical distancing or use of barriers, and
- improving ventilation for customers and workers.
These measures should be documented in sanitation and communicable disease plans.
For further information about surface (fomite) transmission risk, please see this evidence review from NCCEH:
Fomites and the COVID-19 pandemic: An evidence review on its role in viral transmission