The agency stopped onsite surveillance inspections in March due to rising COVID-19 cases. It has since developed a COVID-19 Advisory Rating system to help determine when and where it is safest to conduct prioritized inspections.
Onsite investigators will wear personal protective equipment and follow local, state, and federal guidelines, the FDA noted. The agency also said it will forewarn facilities not related to retail tobacco about upcoming inspections to ensure appropriate staff members are onsite.
The FDA hopes to resume onsite inspections the week of July 20. However, the resumption of surveillance activities will depend on virus statistics, state and local guidelines, and the availability of public services.
"In order to move to the next phase, we must see downward trends in new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in a given area," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a July 10 statement.