Message from the NDHA Regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – As of 3/13/2020

March 16, 2020

On behalf of our members, the ND Hospitality Association (NDHA) has been closely monitoring ongoing developments regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  The NDHA urges calm and fact-based decisions at a time when many rumors have been spread involving the Coronavirus and the hospitality industry. We want to make sure that you’re equipped with the latest information so you can make the best decisions for your business.

Today Governor Burgum issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Dakota, which activates the State Emergency Operations Plan and allows access to additional resources to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
General recommendations issued by the Governor’s Office regarding public gatherings or events are based on three levels of risk:
  • Low Risk – Threshold 1 means unmitigated or uncontained community transmission of coronavirus is occurring elsewhere, but there may not be evidence of significant community transmission in North Dakota yet. At this level, authorities should consider initiating minimally restrictive, or burdensome, but effective mitigation measures. Additionally, authorities should consider canceling or postponing events where a substantive number of attendees are from high-risk locations or high-risk populations.
  • Moderate risk – Threshold 2 is defined as evidence that unmitigated or uncontained community transmission of coronavirus is occurring in at least one geographic jurisdiction within the state. At this level, authorities should consider canceling or rescheduling events if located within the area that has community transmission of the disease or if a large number of attendees are anticipated to come from these impacted areas. Consider alternative attendance options such as web-based, televised only or remote attendance.
  • High Risk – Threshold 3 means there is widespread community transmission of coronavirus within North Dakota. At this level, authorities should cancel or postpone all events that involve the potential for disease transmission and cannot accommodate alternative attendance options.

The full release from the Governor’s office is available here.

What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness. It was first detected in Wuhan, China. Typically, respiratory viruses are most contagious when an individual is most symptomatic, but there have been reports of the virus spreading when the affected individual does not show any symptoms.
Can the Coronavirus be spread through food, including refrigerated or frozen food?
According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” View their most up-to-date list of resources here.
How is the industry responding?
The hospitality industry (including restaurants, lodging, and retail beverage license holders) follows strict local public health guidelines. To meet these guidelines, the industry maintains safety protocols and best practices.
The National Restaurant Association created an industry-specific guidance for owners and operators that you can view here. The industry works day-in and day-out at food safety. You can find out more about ongoing ServSafe training and certification programs here.
Additional information from the ND Hospitality Association and the National Restaurant Association is available here and below.
Recommendations for the Hospitality Industry
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations throughout the operation.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting frequency for high-touch surfaces.
  • Closely monitor employee health. Reinforce personal hygiene and cough etiquette. Encourage symptomatic employees to stay home.
  • Have employees disinfect all personal hard surfaces referenced on the product label.
  • Educate and inform all employees of infection status and proper infection control procedures.
  • Consider implement social distancing in your dining room; since guest counts may be down, remove tables and provide increased distance between guests.
  • Consider marketing to customers that you are implementing this practice.
  • Increase hand-washing requirements for all employees entering the kitchen and food preparation areas.
What can we do?
The CDC suggests that people take the same steps they would to keep from getting the flu: get a flu vaccine, take everyday preventative actions – like washing your hands often – and see a doctor when you are sick.
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance for preparing a workplace for COVID-19 that include tips for preventing the spread of the virus and steps to reduce workers’ risk of exposure.
Where can I find the EPA list of antimicrobial products for use against the Coronavirus?
On March 3, the EPA released a list of registered disinfectant products that have qualified under its emerging viral pathogen program for use again the virus. You can find the list here.
If you have additional questions please contact NDHA Director Rudie Martinson at or 701-527-7692.