Re-opening Mobile/Temporary Food Services

Waterloo Region is in Step 2 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen. For more information please review Reopening Ontario.

Waterloo Region residents are strongly advised to continue practicing public health measures and get vaccinated to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses and organizations can submit questions directly to the Ministry of Health.

Please note, there is no requirement to be inspected by Region of Waterloo Public Health before re-opening at this time. After re-opening, regular inspections by Public Health inspectors will resume to ensure compliance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulationsstandards and COVID-19 prevention measures. Inspection results, including COVID-19 prevention measures will be posted on Check it! We inspect it.

Any new trucks/carts/vendors planning to open, must contact Public Health (and meet local licensing requirements) before opening to arrange for an inspection, by filling out a Food Premise Notification Form.

The following are recommendations for mobile and temporary food premises operators under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. The recommendations may be subject to changes, or additions, based on any new requirements set out in the Provincial Emergency Orders and Closures or Reopening Plan. Operators are responsible for being aware of the current Provincial re-openingrequirements and operators must comply with the Ontario Regulation 493/17 – Food Premises. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times. If crowds develop or physical distancing cannot be maintained, adjustments and corrective actions must be implemented or the operator(s) should close down or move their truck/cart to another location.

Physical distancing/avoid crowding

  • Requirements will follow the stages of the Roadmap to Reopen Plan:
    • The number of trucks in a lot should permit adequate distancing for line-ups and prevent gatherings or crowds
    • Special events are still not permitted at this time
    • Daily or weekly food truck set ups at various lots throughout the region are not considered events, and operating as a food take-out business only
  • Provide physical distancing markings or pylons for line-ups/crowd control, to maintain two metres between customers, including up to the order window/cart.
  • Use one-way traffic flows/direction for patrons
  • Customers should take their food away and eat at home or elsewhere
    • Crowding and gatherings must be discouraged
    • Tables and chairs cannot be provided until the re-opening plan allows for outdoor dining.
    Assign an employee or personnel to actively monitor the line-ups or prevent crowding.
    • Control crowding/limit persons within the area, where applicable
    • Control access points/fencing, to manage the flow of people, where applicable


  • Ensure all staff know to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. Operator/staff must be screened for symptoms on a daily basis using the Worker and Employee Screening Tool. Screening is to take place prior to operating, to help identify any symptoms and/or the need to stay home.
  • Limit the number of employees in the truck and maintain physical distancing. In the event physical distancing cannot be maintained, eye protection should be worn in addition to mask. 

Food truck, cart and/or vendor requirements

  • Ensure the truck and/or cart are equipped with a hand wash basin that is fully operational with hot and cold running water, equipped with wastewater collection and required supplies, to ensure proper hand washing can take place.  
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds after each interaction and when hands may be contaminated .
  • Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that a food or surface is not contaminated.
    • For food handlers, gloves should be worn when a handler has a bandage that is covering a wound. In the event that you use gloves, do so properly:
      • Gloves must be used in combination with handwashing.
      • Hands should always be washed and/or sanitized prior to putting on gloves and after taking gloves off. Do not hand wash while wearing gloves.
      • Change gloves whenever you change activity, touch your face, or come into contact with an item that may have germs.
      • Gloves should be thrown out and not used again once they have been taken off.
  • Install plexiglass barriers at take-out counters (carts) where employees may have close contact (within two metres) with customers, or where foods can be exposed (e.g. hot dog cart).
  • Do not provide squeeze bottles or open communal containers for customer use:
    • Use food items such as individual packets or pre-portioned containers for condiments (e.g. ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise), where possible.
    • Individual packets/pre-portioned containers should be offered and provided with each order.
    • Alternatively, employees can apply condiments as per the customer's choice.
  • Provide individually wrapped/pre-packaged disposable utensils (i.e. forks, knives, spoons), or provided by an employee.
  • Do not provide food samples to customers.
  • After ordering, encourage customers to wait in their vehicle or at a distance from the order/pick up area, and maintain twp metres distance.
    • Consider an order number system to identify orders for pick up.
  • Leave the order on the counter or set up a side table and have the customer pick it up.
  • If it is possible, encourage customers to pay by debit or credit card (tap is preferred).
    • Have one person responsible for all transactions and clean and sanitize all surfaces after each interaction, followed by washing their hands with soap and water.
    • For a hot dog cart, this may include assigning one employee to process all cash transactions or accepting exact change only into a container.
  • Provide at least 60 per cent alcohol based hand sanitizer at the order/pick up window for customers.

Encourage the use of masks/face coverings and eye protection

  • Limit the number of employees in the food truck.
  • Staff should be encouraged to wear mask and eye protection. Use of masks and eye protection is mandatory among staff when physical distancing is not possible, and if staff are required to work in stations where they are facing one another.
  • Proper donning (putting on personal protective equipment) and doffing (taking off) measures should be followed. This includes:
    • Properly washing or sanitizing hands prior to putting the face covering on and after taking the face covering off
    • Individuals should handle the face-covering by the elastic ear hooks and avoid touching the part that goes over the mouth and nose
    • Masks should be changed or washed at least daily
    • Changes masks when they become wet or soiled from talking, sweating, etc.
    • Eye protection to be worn after mask is put on. Eye protection to be cleaned and disinfected between uses and not shared between employees

Increase cleaning and disinfecting practices

  • Owners/operators should establish a plan to enhance cleaning and disinfecting practices in public areas.
  • Continue to follow proper protocols for cleaning and sanitizing food preparation and food-contact surfaces as required in the Ontario Food Premises Regulations.
  • All other public common areas and high-touch, non-food contact surface areas (as required).
  • Disinfectant solution should have an 8-digit drug identification number (DIN) approved by Health Canada, deemed effective against COVID-19 and viruses.
    • Alternatively, diluted bleach solution can be used, but requires surfaces to be cleaned prior to using the solution and at least a 2-minute contact time. Note that bleach solution gets weaker in heat and sun; if kept outside (e.g. on the patio), the solution should be re-mixed at least twice a day. Health Canada recommends diluted bleach be prepared according to the instructions on the label or, assuming the bleach is 5 per cent sodium hypochlorite, in a ratio of:
      • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) per litre (1000 mL)
  • For more information review Cleaning and Disinfection in Public Settings.
  • Disinfectants, household cleaners and bleach are meant to be used to clean surfaces. Never use these products on skin or internally (e.g. by swallowing or injecting these products) as this could cause serious harm.
  • Ensure there is a process in place to verify appropriate concentration levels if the disinfectant is not already pre-mixed. Always read and follow manufacturers’ instructions for safe use (e.g. wear gloves and use in well-ventilated area).  

Applicable laws and regulations

Not withstanding the above, owners/operators of mobile food premises and other food premises must continue to comply with all applicable legislation, including:

Owners/operators should also refer to guidance from the Ministry of Labour. This Ministry guidance supplements, but does not replace, guidance from Public Health about food safety, or the Food Premises Regulation.

Additional resources

Public Health does not provide advice regarding your ability to operate and it remains the business’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws to operate at this time. These guidelines and resources should be reviewed and followed.

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