COVID and the personal chef business

COVID-19 has changed the food world

The health and safety of your clients is your priority. Here are some resources that may help guide you.

You don't have to stop being a personal chef. You'll just need to be aware of safety precautions.

The world has not ended. You can continue to take care of your clients, helping them eat meals together and enjoy small gatherings with their friends and family.

Mask Resources

Your mask doesn't have to be boring. If you're fashionable, so should your mask. Click on any of these links to add to your mask collection. #affiliate

COVID and the personal chef business
COVID and the personal chef business

Glove Resources

Sadly, the fashion world hasn't quite caught up with gloves yet. #affiliate

Hand Sanitizer Resources

Handwashing is ideal, but when it's not an option (like leaving the grocery store), hand sanitizer is the next best thing. #affiliate

COVID and the personal chef business

Self-Care

All those disinfectant chemicals can be stressful to your skin and your mind. Take extra time, especially now, to take care of yourself. These are all products I highly recommend and use on my own sensitive skin. A quality product is required for your most important asset - your hands.  #affiliate 

Personal Chef Guidelines per the CDC

Note that these considerations are meant to supplement, not replace, any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which businesses must comply.

COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices such as handwashing, staying home when sick, and cleaning with disinfectants are key.

If you're sick or have recently had a close contact with with a person with COVID-19, you should stay home.

 

Personal Chef Specific Guidelines

Frequent handwashing (you're probably already doing this, but here's a refresher):

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the restroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling pet food, treats, or petting an animal 
  • After touching garbage

In addition to any state or local requirements regarding glove use, they're only recommended by the CDC when disposing of trash and when handling used food service items. You should wash your hands after removing gloves.

Cloth face coverings should be worn when physical distancing is difficult. They're meant to protect other people in case you're unknowingly infected, but don't have symptoms.

Because you're stepping into another person's home, you'll want to first clean and disinfect the area where you'll be working including countertops, stove knobs, cabinet door handles and appliance doors. When leaving, you'll do the same to include any door handles. Use products that meet EPA disinfection criteria and that are appropriate for the surface. It's good to establish a disinfection routine or checklist.

 

Proper Handwashing Technique

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Mask Guidelines per the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

How to Wear: CDC recommends that you wear masks around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others. Wear ones with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wear it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Do not wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 respirators. CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields. Evaluation of these face covers is on-going but effectiveness is unknown at this time. If you wear glasses, find a mask that fits closely over your nose or one that has a nose wire to limit fogging. Wear a mask consistently for the best protection. Wash your hands before putting on a mask and do not touch the mask while wearing it.

After Wear Care: Handle only by the ear loops or ties. Fold outside corners together. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing. Wash hands immediately after removing. Include your mask with your regular laundry.

Washing with Laundry: Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the fabric. Use the highest heat setting until completely dry.

Handwashing: Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Use bleach containing 5.25%–8.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use a bleach product if the percentage is not in this range or is not specified. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing (a) 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) of 5.25%–8.25% bleach per gallon of room temperature water; or (b) 4 teaspoons of 5.25%–8.25% bleach per quart of room temperature water. Soak the mask in the bleach solution for 5 minutes. Discard the bleach solution down the drain and rinse the mask thoroughly with cool or room temperature water. The mask is ready to wear again when completely dry.

Pandemics can be stressful

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic can be a stressful time. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Social distancing can make us feel isolated, lonely, and can increase stress and anxiety. 

Stress could lead to any of the following:

  • Fear and worry about your own health, the health of your loved ones, or your financial situation 
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of tobacco and alcohol

How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, and/or the community you live in.

Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Taking care of your friends and your family can be a stress reliever, but it should be balanced with care for yourself.

During times of increased social distancing, people can still maintain social connections and care for their mental health. Phone calls or video chats can help you and your loved ones feel socially connected, less lonely and isolated.

Healthy ways to cope with stress include:

  • Gathering information, such as from the CDC website so you know what to do if you're sick
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories including those on social media; hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
  • Take care of your body
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
    • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
    • Exercise regularly
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use
  • Create time to unwind; try to participate in leisurely activities you enjoy
  • Connect with others; talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling
  • Connect with your community or faith-based organizations

 

Remember, I'm here for you!

Best Wishes, Virginia Stockwell