Covid-19 Safety Plan


The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways. It can spread in droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread if a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their face. The risk of person-to-person transmission increases the closer people come to each other, the more time people spend together, and the more people come near each other. The risk of surface transmission increases when many people contact the same surface and when those contacts happen over short periods of time.
To reduce the risk of the virus spreading though the Food Bank, the safety measures in this document have been implemented to protect staff, volunteers, and clients at the Food Bank. Different safety measures offer different levels of protection. Wherever possible, the Food Bank will use the safety measure that offers the highest level of protection. More than one level of protection may be needed to deal with the risks at the Food Bank; for example, physical distancing and masks.

First level protection (elimination):
⦁ The number of people in the Food Bank at any one time shall not exceed 12. Staff and volunteers must keep 6 feet apart from other co-workers. An occupancy limit notice for the Food Bank advising that no more than 12 persons can be in the Food Bank at any point in time is posted inside the Food Bank and outside the Food Bank on the front door. Limiting the number of people in the workplace is an important way to ensure physical distancing is maintained. Public Health guidelines require 5 square metres of unencumbered floor space per person.
⦁ Clients are not permitted inside the Food Bank. The inside of the Food Bank is considered a safe zone for volunteers and staff. Clients are presently served outside the Food Bank.
⦁ Many of the volunteers at the Food Bank have not been recalled, in order to keep the number of people in the building to the bare minimum needed for safe, efficient operation of the Food Bank. Currently a total of 11 volunteers and staff are working Monday to Friday, with many volunteers coming in more than one day a week.
⦁ Occupancy for the lunch/break room is 2 persons at one time, maintaining a safe distance of 6 feet from each other. An occupancy limit notice has also been posted on the door to the lunch/break room.

Second level of protection (engineering controls):
⦁ If social distancing can not be maintained, barriers such as plexiglass will be used to separate persons.

Third level of protection (administrative controls):
⦁ Designated delivery area – the van driver will unload the Food Bank van at the side door to the Food Bank building. This door will not be used for any other purpose, except as an exit in an emergency situation.
⦁ The front door of the Food Bank building will be used for staff and volunteers when they come to work and leave work. Food for clients is also transported out this door, and any food not given out at the end of the day is returned back into the Food Bank ready for the next day.
⦁ On occasion, other non-profit groups receive excess food product from the Food Bank, and they would come to the front of the building to receive their food items. Food is given to these groups outside the Food Bank.
⦁ People bringing food donations to the food bank will also be met at the front door by a staff member or a volunteer and the donations will then be taken to the back room for sorting.
⦁ Persons bringing in monetary donations to the Food Bank will also be met at the front door by a staff member .or volunteer and directed to the table outside where client ID is taken. A receipt will be made out for the donor.
⦁ Volunteers and staff should not share equipment or tools, without the equipment or tools being cleaned and sanitized after each use.
⦁ There are 2 doors to the back room from the front area. Both entrance ways to the back room will be used by staff and volunteers. Social distancing will be maintained when persons are going through either door way.
⦁ Occupancy levels have been established for the Food Bank building, to ensure social distancing is maintained by volunteers, staff members and any contractors on site.

Fourth level of protection (PPE):
⦁ In order to minimize risks to volunteers and staff members, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, and gloves are to be worn by volunteers and staff. Face shields may also be worn by staff or volunteers. PPE is not used as the only control measure. It will be used in combination with other measures. Disposable gloves worn by volunteers and staff are worn to minimize risks when handling food and touching multiple surfaces.
⦁ Posters on the proper procedure to put on a mask and take off a mask have been posted throughout the Food Bank.

Current Recommendations include:
⦁ Washing hands often with soap and water for 15 – 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol (recommended by Health Canada) will be used..
⦁ Volunteers and staff are to avoid touching face, mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands.
⦁ Volunteers and staff should avoid contact with people who appear sick. Any person displaying signs of illness at the Food Bank will be sent home.
⦁ Volunteers and staff should stay at home and away from others if they are feeling ill.
⦁ Volunteers and staff should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue if they cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. The tissue should then be disposed of in a lined waste container and volunteers and staff must perform hand hygiene immediately after a cough or sneeze.
⦁ Frequently used objects and surfaces at the Food Bank, such as doorknobs, light switches, tables, handles, pens, computer stations, counters, etc. will be cleaned and disinfected daily.
⦁ Volunteers and staff should stay at least 6 feet away from other volunteers and staff (social distancing).
⦁ All volunteers and staff are required to wear masks, and are encouraged to wear gloves.
⦁ Volunteers and staff are not permitted to share communication devices or personal protective equipment unless they are cleaned between users.
⦁ Clients are served outside the building, and social distancing is practiced by staff, volunteers, and clients.
⦁ Staff and volunteers are required to fill out the COVID-19 SCREENING TOOL form, published by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, at the beginning of each week when reporting for work
⦁ Having a COVID-19 Safety Plan will provide guidance to staff, volunteers, and clients. These procedures will be followed to keep everyone safe. The safety plan will also allow the Food Bank to distribute food to clients in a safe manner to all persons involved. A safety plan also reduces fear among clients, staff, and volunteers, and other persons coming to the Food Bank because the knowledge that there is a known, posted, safety plan in place will reassure persons that the Food Bank is doing everything in its power to keep every one safe and to continue to provide food in a safe manner to all clients.

Effective cleaning and hygiene practices for use at the Comox Valley Food Bank
The virus that causes COVID-19 is easily destroyed by mild soap and water. This works well for handwashing, but the cleaning of surfaces effectively can be a challenge. Therefore, it is important to clean and disinfect surfaces, especially high-contact surfaces, which are surfaces that are contacted frequently and/or by many people. Highly touched services (e.g. phones, washrooms, tables, door knobs, and light switches) should be cleaned and sanitized each day.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease that mainly spreads among humans through direct contact with an infected person and their respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets are generated by breathing, speaking, coughing, and sneezing. A person’s exposure risk is greatest when they have prolonged close contact with an infected person.
The virus is also spread if a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, mouth, or nose. A surface can become contaminated if droplets land on it or if someone touches it with contaminated hands.
Effective cleaning and disinfection involves a two-stage process.
All common surfaces that volunteers, staff, and clients touch need to be cleaned and disinfected. Examples include: doorknobs, light switches, handles, countertops, desks, tables, phones, keyboards, touch screens, toilets, and faucets. Common high-contact surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected both inside and outside to limit the chance of the virus spreading through touching contaminated surfaces. Any tools, machinery, or equipment that is shared by persons in the Food Bank must be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day, and after use, before another person uses the same tools, equipment, or machinery.
There are a number of products that can be used for disinfection. Health Canada website outlines which products are suitable for use against the coronavirus. Disinfectants must have a DIN (drug identification number). Disinfectants are different from sanitizers in that they have a greater ability to destroy bacteria, viruses and molds Some disinfectant/sanitizer products are the same chemical. It can be used as a disinfectant when used at a lower concentration and shorter contact time. The Comox Valley Food Bank will only use products which Health Canada has determined to be suitable for use against the coronavirus. These are consumer products that don’t require a safety data sheet. When cleaning, volunteers and staff must follow whatever safety information that is available for the product. These products must be used with caution, as directed on the label, to avoid introducing other hazards into the workplace.
Some sanitizing solutions contain up to 70 percent alcohol and will release flammable vapours. These should be used with caution, and not used if there are ignition sources nearby.
Disinfectants are used at a higher concentration and require a longer contact time than sanitizers. If a food grade disinfectant is used on a food contact service, it may need to be rinsed off with water.
Volunteers and staff who are cleaning will be trained to use the cleaning products safely.

Public Health Canada recommends the following procedures. Regular handwashing is an important part of maintaining clean surfaces. Volunteers and staff are expected to wash their hands regularly, at a minimum, when they arrive, immediately before and after any breaks, after handling common tools and equipment, after handling faucets and toilets, and just before leaving. This is a very important infection control protocol for the Food Bank. Alcohol-based sanitizer is available at the Food Bank for staff, and volunteers to use. This sanitizer is available inside the front door, and inside the door going into the back room. There is also a sanitizer station on the wall outside the washroom. Sanitizer is in the Food Bank van for use by the driver and volunteer. Sanitizer is outside for clients to use before accessing the food line up. Handwashing sites for staff and volunteers are in the following locations: break room/lunch room and washroom. They are easily accessed by all persons in building. Handwashing should be performed frequently with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds, especially after touching surfaces which could be contaminated, such as tables, light switches, and door knobs. Frequent handwashing and good hygiene practices are essential to reduce the spread of the virus. To date, there are no hand sanitizers in Canada approved with COVID-19 related claims. Although they do not claim to kill viruses such as coronaviruses, hand sanitizers can help reduce the risk of infection by, or spread of, microorganisms.

LOCATION: Outside Food Bank Building
FUNCTION: Distributing food to clients in a safe manner

Staff and volunteers must wear gloves and masks when distributing food outside the building, and must also practice social distancing between themselves and clients.

Clients waiting in line must stay 6 feet away from each other to minimize the risk.

Pre-made hamper bags and pre-made produce bags are given out to clients to minimize the risk of COVID-19 virus.

Alcohol based sanitizer is available outside for clients to use. Clients must sanitize their hands before giving their ID to a volunteer at the Food Bank and before starting to access the tables to receive their food.

The following items are required to be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the day:
⦁ coolers that have frozen meat products and refrigerated food items in them
⦁ chair for person taking client ID, table, and plexiglass partition
⦁ plastic containers (that hold non perishable food) that clients have access to
e) metal racks that hold bread and dessert items during the shift
f) red wagons that are used by volunteers to take food outside and to hold premade vegetable
bags for clients. If a client uses a red wagon to take food to their vehicle, then the wagon must
then be cleaned and sanitized before being used again.
g) folding tables and benches that food is put on
h) ticket dispensing machine
i) clipboard that clients put ID
j) outside and inside door handle on front Food Bank door
k) red wagons after use by a client and at end of day

The freezer outside the Food Bank should be cleaned and sanitized weekly.

LOCATION: First Manager’s office

Office staff must wear masks and gloves and practice social distancing with each other and other volunteers and staff.

Office staff are to use hand sanitizer before entering office.

Desks are to be cleared of paperwork at end of shift, so that it is easier to clean and sanitize all surfaces at the beginning of the next shift.

The two office desks allow for two persons to maintain social distancing while working together.

Other equipment and tools that will be cleaned and sanitized at the beginning of the day are as follows:
⦁ both desks and desk drawer handles
⦁ both computer monitors, both computer mice, both computer keyboards
⦁ telephone, pens, stapler, calculator, hole punch
⦁ printer and printer table
⦁ light switches and inside and outside door knobs
⦁ walkie-talkies are to be cleaned and sanitized at the beginning of each shift.
⦁ filing cabinets should be cleaned and sanitized once a week because they are not used daily

LOCATION: Second Manager’s office

Volunteers and staff must wear masks and disposable gloves and practice social distancing with each other when they are working in this office.

Staff and volunteers are to use the hand sanitizer outside office before entering. The bookkeeper must wear a mask and use hand sanitizer also before entering the food bank, and coming into this office to obtain paperwork.

Desks and surfaces should be cleared off as much as possible, so that it is easier to clean all surfaces at the beginning of each day.

The following should be cleaned and sanitized at the end of the day:
⦁ computer, mouse, computer monitor
⦁ desk and drawer handles on desk
⦁ front of safe, handle for safe and top of safe
⦁ Inside and outside door handles
⦁ the storage box where paperwork is put into for the bookkeeper. The 3 staff members all put receipts, etc. in this box for the bookkeeper. This box should be cleaned and sanitized also after the bookkeeper comes in to take ‘work’ home.
⦁ printer and printer table
⦁ telephone
⦁ light switches
⦁ outside of file cabinets cleaned at the end of each week

The file cabinets are rarely used in the office, so a once a week cleaning and disinfecting would be sufficient.

LOCATION: Front Sorting Area


Staff and volunteers must wear masks and gloves and practice social distancing with each other.

Staff and volunteers to use hand sanitizer inside front door when they enter the building and at other locations inside the building when needed.

The following should be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each day:
⦁ the tables in the front sorting area
⦁ metal racks that client hampers are put on
⦁ light switches
⦁ floors
⦁ outside of wall-mounted hand sanitizers

The volunteers making up hampers do not use any equipment.

Since the volunteers wear gloves, the plastic containers which store food will be cleaned and sanitized at the end of every week, not daily.

LOCATION: Back Sorting Area and Back Storage rooms

Staff and volunteers must wear masks and disposable gloves and practice social distancing with each other while working in the back sorting area.

Volunteers and staff in the back sorting area use the following tools and equipment: red wagons, another wagon used for paper recycling, and a tool that seals bags of food.

Staff and volunteers are to use hand sanitizer which is set out in back room for their use.

The following items must be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each day:
⦁ two long tables in the back area where food is sorted and packaged
⦁ bag sealer – if to be used by more than one volunteer that day, must be sanitized before use by other person
⦁ outside surfaces of refrigerators and freezer, including door handles
⦁ standard size refrigerator which holds cold refreshments for staff and volunteers must have the outside cleaned and sanitized at the end of the day, including fridge handle
⦁ dollies
⦁ light switches
⦁ door handles to storage rooms
⦁ floors
⦁ telephone
⦁ wagon used for recycling cardboard

LOCATIION: Bread Room Area


Staff and volunteers must wear masks and gloves and practice social distancing with each other and any other volunteers and staff that could be in this area, such as the van driver and his volunteer assistant.

Staff and volunteers are to use a hand sanitizer which is set out in back room, the front sorting area by the front door, or just outside the washroom.

The following items must be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each day:
⦁ outside and inside door handle on the outside door to the bread room area by van driver.

LOCATION: Lunch/Break Room

Recent information shows that it is possible for employees to acquire the COVID-19 virus through close contact in shared employee break areas and living areas. To minimize the spread of the virus in common break areas, requirements are that volunteers and employees practice social distancing during break time. No more than 2 persons can be in break room at any time. Volunteers and staff members are asked to stagger their break times to facilitate no more than two persons in break room at any time.

There is a sink in the lunch/breakroom that can be used for handwashing.

Any dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher during the day and at the end of the day. The dishwasher will sanitize the dishes and cutlery before being used again.

The following areas must be cleaned and sanitized daily:
⦁ counter tops
⦁ table top
⦁ chairs
⦁ top of stove and stove handles and buttons on stove
⦁ inside and outside of microwave oven
⦁ file cabinets
⦁ light switches and inside and outside door handles
⦁ refrigerator and handles on refrigerator
⦁ telephone
⦁ coffee maker
⦁ sink and faucet handles
⦁ outside of dishwasher and dishwasher handle

The floor in the lunch/break room to be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each week.

LOCATION: Food Bank Van

Every Friday before the end of his shift, the van driver and/or his volunteer must clean and sanitize the interior of the food bank van, including the back cargo area, the back door handles, the side door handles of the van, and the passenger and driver door handles on the van. The inside door handles must also be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each week. If someone else is going to be driving the van, then the van would need to be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly before another person drives the van, and then after another person has driven the van, the van would then need to be cleaned and sanitized again for the safety of the regular van driver. Once a week, the food totes in the van are to be cleaned and sanitized.

The van driver and his assistant must wear gloves and a mask when entering any other business premise or the food bank, or when delivering food to clients at their homes.

The van should have a supply of hand sanitizer and wipes, so that the driver and volunteer can use when needed during the day. The van driver should also wear disposable gloves when fueling the van, and gas pump handles should be sanitized before the van driver touches the gas pump handles.

The van driver and assistant should maintain their distance from other persons and home delivery clients to keep everyone safe.

Disposable gloves are to be used when handling food. that is being put into van and taken out of van.

The van driver and his assistant are responsible for maintaining the van and the safety protocols of cleaning and disinfecting areas of the van.

The van driver is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the totes that are used to transport food to the food bank, before the totes go back to the stores. This is to be done at the end of each work day.

LOCATION: Washroom


The following areas are to be cleaned and sanitized daily:
⦁ floor
⦁ toilet
⦁ sink and counter
⦁ paper towel dispenser
⦁ bottles of hand wash and sanitizer on bathroom counter
⦁ inside and outside door handles to washroom

The upstairs storage area of the Food Bank is to be locked and the upstairs washroom area is to be locked and not able to be accessed by staff and volunteers of the Food Bank.


All staff and volunteers will be instructed in the following procedures for cleaning, disinfection, and handwashing.
To disinfect a surface effectively, it must be cleaned first to remove surface dirt and debris. Any residue left on work surfaces and equipment may deactivate the disinfectant. Use soap or detergent or regular household cleaners as a cleaning agent.
Cleaning protocols have been implemented for all common service areas. Cleaning products (soap and water) are to be used for all common surfaces; e.g. washrooms, tools, equipment, vehicle interiors, shared tables, desks, light switches, and door knobs. Cleaning protocol sheets have been made up for each area of the Food Bank outlining the frequency these items must be cleaned (number of times per day) as well as the timing (before and after shift, and after use).
Unnecessary tools and equipment have been removed to simplify the cleaning process. Workers who are cleaning must have adequate training and materials.
A dedicated cloth should be used for cleaning

After cleaning, apply a disinfectant to the surface. The disinfectant needs to be left on for a specified contact time, in order to neutralize any remaining organisms. Staff and volunteers need to look for recommended contact times on product instructions.
Apply the disinfectant to a clean and dry cloth. Saturate the cloth before treating touch points (touch points are surfaces where bare hands come in contact from multiple people, multiple times). Reapply as needed. Apply enough disinfectant to leave a visible film on the surface. Allow the surface to air dry. This action allows the contact time needed to be effective. Reapply disinfectant to the cloth between surfaces. Change the cloth daily or when it becomes visibly soiled.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses. This means they are one of the easiest type of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant when used according to the label directions.
Handwashing stations are in the kitchen and the washroom.
Schedules have been set up with workstations for each employee.


#1 – Who can and cannot be at Food Bank workplace
If workers start to feel ill at work, the policy is as follows:
⦁ Sick volunteers or staff should report to one of the managers, even with mild symptoms
⦁ Sick workers will be advised to wash and sanitize their hands. Management will ensure volunteer or staff has mask on. Management will ask the employee or staff member to leave the Food Bank and go straight home. Management will then call 811 for further guidance related to testing and self-isolation. If the worker is severely ill (e.g. difficulty breathing, chest pain) call 911.
⦁ All surfaces that the ill worker has been in contact with will be cleaned and disinfected immediately.
⦁ Volunteers and staff showing symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from coming to the Food Bank.
⦁ Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days is prohibited from coming to the Food Bank. Symptoms include the following: fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and new muscle aches or headache.
⦁ Anyone directed by Public Health to self-isolate is not permitted at the Food Bank. The employer and employees of the Food Bank should be reassured that if they haven’t been contacted by Public Health then there is no issue or concern that was identified by Public Health.
⦁ Anyone who has arrived from outside Canada or has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms, and must be tested for the virus before returning to the Food Bank.
⦁ Employees that voluntarily self-isolate due to illness can return to the Food Bank after 10 days when all symptoms have been resolved.
⦁ Visitors are prohibited from coming into the Food Bank. Persons donating food items to the Food Bank will be met at the front door and food will be taken from there by a staff or volunteer and taken to the back room for sorting. Persons who are bringing a monetary donation to the Food Bank are to wait outside while unofficial receipt is being made up. They will then receive a copy of the receipt for their records
⦁ Contractors will be permitted in the Food Bank on an as-needed scheduled basis. Before entering the Food Bank they will need to fill out the same form as staff and volunteers.

#2 – How Workers can be kept safe in adjusted working conditions

⦁ Visitors are prohibited from coming into the Food Bank, except contractors as required to perform maintenance work. These workers must fill out a the COVID-19 SCREENING TOOL, from Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, before an estimate for work can be done or the job to be started.
⦁ A Violence Prevention Program will be set up and approved by the Board of Directors of the Food Bank, and will then form a part of the COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN.
⦁ Volunteers and staff will be made aware of the strategies required to address the risk of violence that may arise as clients and members of the public adapt to restrictions or modifications to the workplace.
⦁ Employees and staff are required to wear face masks at the Food Bank, and are encouraged to wear disposable gloves, for their safety and that of other people. This also provides an assurance to clients and others that the Food Bank is taking every measure possible to keep everyone safe. Hands should be washed thoroughly before putting on gloves. Even while wearing gloves, volunteers and staff must still avoid touching their face.
⦁ Signs are posted about hand hygiene and physical distancing measures throughout the Food Bank and outside for the clients to see.
⦁ Notices have been posted at the Food Bank advising that only authorized personnel are permitted in the building and maximum occupancy notices have also been posted.

#3 – Communication Plans and Training

⦁ A training plan is in place to ensure all volunteers and staff are trained in workplace policies and procedures. The volunteers and staff will be shown correct procedures to follow, and then once a month, or when required, the systems will be gone over again to ensure that everyone is aware of the policies that need to be followed at the Food Bank for everyone’s safety.
⦁ All workers have received copies of the COVID-19 safety plan and the policies for staying home when sick.
⦁ Signage has been posted at the workplace, outlining occupancy limits and effective hygiene practices.
⦁ Signage has been posted at the main entrance indicating who is restricted from entering the premises, including visitors and workers with symptoms.
⦁ Managers will monitor volunteers and the workplace to ensure policies and procedures are being followed.
⦁ Workers are encouraged to inform managers of concerns relating to being exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace, such as specific tasks that concern them (i.e. tasks that involve interacting with others).
⦁ Volunteers have been consulted and involved in the process of where potential exposures to the virus could possibly occur.
⦁ Controls have been implemented to eliminate or minimize the risk of exposure.
⦁ Volunteers, staff, and the Board of Directors have been involved with the implementation of this safety plan.

#4 – Monitor Workplace and update COVID-19 safety plan as necessary

As the Food Bank operates and changes its method of operation due to the status of the COVID-19 virus, volunteers will be notified promptly of any changes to operation and will receive training, if necessary. If there are new areas of concern, or if something is not working properly, policies and procedures will be updated. Both volunteers are staff will be involved in this process.

⦁ risk areas will be monitored and changes to policies and procedures will be made as necessary and as soon as feasible
⦁ volunteers are advised to speak to a Manager about health and safety concerns
⦁ workstations allow for physical distancing of 6 feet between persons.

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We acknowledge that the Comox Valley Food Bank is located and provides services on the traditional territories of many distinct First Nations with different cultures, languages and unique dialects.

Please reflect, acknowledge and honour in your own way the First Nation land on which you live, work and play.