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Office Gatherings

COVID-19 Info

Office and Departmental Holiday Events

Office and departmental gatherings around food are a tradition around campus during the holidays.  Of course, the safest course of action would be to forgo these events this year.  If you do plan to hold a modified event, we want to provide the following guidance adapted from the CDC regarding events of this type:

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19. It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food, food packaging, or utensils that have the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way that the virus is spread. Remember, it is always important to follow good hygiene to reduce the risk of illness from common foodborne germs.

  • Make sure everyone washes their hands with soap and water before and after preparing, serving, and eating food. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Instead of potluck-style gatherings, encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves.
  • Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled.
  • Wear a mask while preparing or serving food to others.
  • If serving any food, consider having one person serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
  • Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, plates and utensils, and condiments.
  • Avoid any self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets or buffet-style potlucks, salad bars, and condiment or drink stations. Use grab-and-go options, if available.
  • If you choose to use any items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash and disinfect them after the event.

This information is adapted from CDC guidance.

For more information, contact the Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management Department at 936-468-4514 or