Interim Recommendations for Adjusting Food Distribution Standard Operating Procedures in the Context of the COVID-19 Outbreak (Version 2, March 2020)


As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in an unpredictable manner it presents a growing risk to all stakeholders involved in food assistance, particularly during food distributions.

This Interim Guidance is intended for field coordinators, site managers managers and public health personnel, as well as national and local governments and the wider humanitarian community working in humanitarian situations at food distribution sites, who are involved in the decision making and implementation of multi-sectorial COVID-19 outbreak readiness and response activities – the Guidance is therefore relevant for all Humanitarian Clusters and their partners.


This document aims to guide the revision of existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Food Distribution in the COVID-19 context at the country level to minimize the risk of exposure of personnel, partners and beneficiaries. It is not meant to replace existing SOPs, but rather complement them.

Adjustments to existing food distribution SOPs should be in alignment with other country-specific guidance shared by the relevant authorities and partners (e.g. Ministry of Health (MoH), WHO etc.), as well as the national public health emergency preparedness plan or equivalent when available. For refugee settings, this should be done in coordination with UNHCR, MoH and other public health agencies.