COVID-19 Preparations
March 16, 2020Jim Oswald

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Enacts Proactive Measures as COVID-19 Cases Grow.

On March 16, 2020, SF Mayor London Breed announced a shelter in place at home order in six Bay Area counties for non-essential businesses in order to disrupt the spread of COVID-19. This order is expected to be in place starting Tuesday, March 17 and last until April 7.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco (MOWSF), like other home-delivered meals services and senior centers, are an essential business as recognized by the San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS), and as such, must remain open because thousands of older adult clients rely on us for meals.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco (MOWSF) is closely monitoring the latest COVID-19 developments and is coordinating with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services to ensure emergency operation protocols are in place and that delivery of meals to older adults who rely on our services is uninterrupted.

By necessity, MOWSF’s number one priority is the safety of its staff and of the thousands of clients it serves. A vast majority of our Meals on Wheels recipients struggle with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and compromised immune systems, which can make them particularly vulnerable to any number of diseases, including this strain of novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

At the recommendation of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, during the next two weeks, many of our older adult clients aged 60 and older may want to stay indoors and avoid crowds and packed places where viruses can easily spread. For many of those homebound seniors, our meals become even more important to them.

What Meals on Wheels San Francisco is Doing to Prepare for COVID-19

On March 9, 2020, MOWSF implemented an Incident Action Plan which sets in place emergency protocols and safeguards around meal production, deliveries, and client and staff communications, should a quarantine occur and staffing resources become minimal.

We do not anticipate interruption to our current Home-Delivered Meals program which provides meals to the homes of 3,600 homebound seniors and adults with disabilities in a given week. Likewise, we expect to continue our Home-Delivered Groceries program which serves approximately 500 clients weekly with fresh groceries provided by the SF-Marin Food Bank and delivered by MOWSF volunteers and staff. Additionally, MOWSF provides thousands of meals daily to the City’s Navigation Centers.

Because our clients are primarily homebound and many live alone, we are working with all due effort to ensure that we protect them from exposure, and that they receive regular communications from us so they know they can count on receiving their meals from us.

Additionally, we have increased daily safety protocols at MOWSF around cleaning and disinfecting work areas, our kitchen, and our delivery vehicles after shifts. We are also requiring staff to stay home when they are ill. Staff are also practicing social distancing in the workplace.

At this time, Meals on Wheels San Francisco has postponed non-mission essential events and outings for the safety of staff and clients. Once concerns around the spread of COVID-19 have subsided, we plan to continue those enrichment activities which help educate the public about our work.

What can you do to prepare for COVID-19?

  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Always cover your cough or sneeze
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19

How you and your family can prepare for the possible disruption caused by an outbreak:

  • Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family
  • Make a child care plan if you or a caregiver are sick
  • Make arrangements about how your family will manage a school closure
  • Make a plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself

Facts about COVID-19

(Source: SF Department of Public Health)


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