Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Here’s the plan for restaurant reopenings

by Panhandle Health District
| May 3, 2020 1:00 AM

To our Food Establishment Operators,

Panhandle Health District (PHD) strongly supports the opening of North Idaho restaurants on May 16. Governor Brad Little’s office requires local health districts to receive a restaurant’s reopening plans prior to May 16.

The restaurant reopening plan form (available at was prepared by the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare Food Safety Program in partnership with Idaho Rebounds to provide guidance and will qualify as a food establishment’s reopening plan.

Again, the Idaho Rebounds guidelines indicate that food establishments may reopen on May 16 if they have submitted a plan for approval. Pending approval by the health district does not restrict the food establishment from opening.

We ask that all food establishments complete the reopening plan form and email to PHD using the following email address:

Sending to this email address will provide an immediate electronic response that your plan has been received by Panhandle Health District. You can also deliver the completed form at any PHD office, or mail to Attn: Environmental Health, 8500 N. Atlas Road, Hayden, ID, 83835. Questions? Please contact PHD at (208) 415-5220.

Gov. Little retains the power to change the reopening plan if we start to see an increase in cases or any other adverse effect of any part of the reopening stages. Everyone plays a role in keeping each other safe throughout this process.

Individuals are asked to continue doing the following:

• Engage in physical distancing of at least 6 feet

• Wear face coverings in public places

• Stay home if sick

• Practice good hand hygiene

• Cover coughs and sneezes

• Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly

Employers are asked to continue doing the following:

• Maintain the 6-foot physical distancing requirements for employees and patrons

• Provide adequate sanitation and personal hygiene for employees, vendors, and patrons

• Ensure frequent disinfection of the business as well as regular cleaning, especially of high-touch surfaces

• Identify how personal use items such as masks, face coverings, and gloves may be required by employees, vendors, and/or patrons

• Provide services while limiting close interactions with patrons

• Identify strategies for addressing ill employees, which should include requiring COVID-19 positive employees to stay at home while infectious, and may include keeping employees who were directly exposed to the COVID-19 positive employee away from the workplace, and the closure of the business until the location can be properly disinfected

• On a case-by-case basis, include other practices appropriate for specific types of businesses such as screening of employees for illness and exposures upon work entry, requiring non-cash transactions, etc.

We have created a poster that businesses can hang in their windows or on their front door to instruct patrons on safety. We also have a checklist that employers can use to ensure their staff and clients are kept safe and healthy. These items are downloadable on our website. Childcare facilities are not required to submit a formal plan to us, but are encouraged to work with us on guidance for reopening if they have questions.

Continue to practice social distancing, proper hand washing, wearing your cloth face covering, and cleaning regularly. We will make it through this together.

• • •

Kootenai Health and the Panhandle Health District are actively working to share information about COVID-19 with our community. You can find the latest updates and ways to protect yourself at If you have questions about COVID-19 or think you may have the virus, call the Panhandle Health District COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-415-5225.