Food Safety & COVID-19

COVID-19: Food Safety Operations and Re-Opening Toolkit

​As part of Governor McMaster's accelerateSC taskforce, SCRLA has provided guidance to assist restaurants and the public as they safely re-open. DHEC, in conjunction with SCRLA, is developing this toolkit to assist restaurants and the public with successful re-opening in response to COVID-19. Phase I, effective May 4, 2020, focuses on outdoor dining. Phase II, effective May 11, 2020, allows for limited dine-in service. This voluntary toolkit provides resources including signage, templates, a checklist, and ​educational materials for facilities. For re-opening to be successful, it will take all of us - individually and collectively, businesses and customers - following recommendations from our local and federal partners to prevent the spread of this virus.

With COVID-19 impacting how we conduct normal operations, DHEC’s Food Team has been working to develop innovative ways to continue to serve our community, while still ensuring public health protection. DHEC's restaurant inspection team has developed and implemented a method for preoperational inspections to be conducted virtually for new restaurants looking to open. This compliance assistance tool is allowing new businesses to open while we practice proper social distancing. Beginning April 14, 2020, our food teams around the state will be reaching out to facilities to schedule a food safety check.

Click here to see an example.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DHEC has developed a procedure for conducting a virtual “food safety check” instead of our regular inspections. Our staff can conduct these checks utilizing a variety of video conferencing services including Microsoft Teams, Apple Facetime, Skype for Business and Android Video Call. A virtual visit will allow us to protect your employees by providing social distancing while conducting these important checks.

Beginning April 14, 2020, our food teams around the state are reaching out to facilities to schedule a food safety check. Please see the PDF below for a list of facilities that have undergone a virtual food safety check; this list is updated every business day.

COVID-19 Food Safety Checks

Click here to view a blank virtual food safety check report or click here to watch an example virtual food safety check.

DHEC has a limited number of sneeze guards available for SC permitted retail food establishments. To get your free sneeze guard, please contact your local food team and schedule a Food Safety Check. This virtual food safety check will allow us to continue food safety oversight while also protecting public health by adhering to social distancing measures. The sneeze guards will be provided on a first come, first serve basis as long as supplies last.
Food workers should never work when sick or touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands. They should carefully wash their hands with warm water and soap often.


Other steps you can take to help South Carolinians stay healthy include:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Appropriately dispose of tissues and other items you’ve coughed and sneezed into
  • Ensure routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as tabletops, countertops, doorknobs, etc.
  • Be prepared and informed

As part of our ongoing communications efforts, you may find the following materials and information helpful:

Guidance specific to South Carolina:

Guidance from the US Food & Drug Administration or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


If you have questions about the restrictions on service, food sanitation or hygiene practices, please give us a call 803-896-0640 or email us.

Outreach Materials


Retail Food Service Statewide