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Covid-19 food safety guidance for businesses

General guidance
What you need to know about Coronavirus and food Covid-19 symptoms
Food hygiene guidance Managing employee sickness
Social distancing Maintaining social distancing in specific food business settings
Health and safety guidance for businesses Planning for reopening
Face covering  
Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways
Working safely during Coronavirus Food safety for food delivery
Adapting food businesses for takeaway and delivery during Covid-19 Cleaning effectively in your business
Re-opening checklist for food businesses during Covid-19 Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19
CIEH guidance on food delivery and takeaway services (available in English, Welsh, Punjabi and Bengali)  
Pavement licences  
Community cooking and food banksManufacturers
Food safety for community cooking and food banks Adapting food manufacturing operations during Covid-19
  Bulk freezing of ambient and chilled foods
Create a Coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue
I have a question or need to report a concern

Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).

In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.

Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).

Frequently asked questions

Can my customers eat/drink at my tables?
From 4 July customers can consume food and drink at the tables you provide, as long as this is done in accordance with government guidelines. Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).

Do I have to provide customer toilets at my business?
The council can require the provision of customer toilets at places where customers are invited to consume the food on the premises. This does not apply to retail or predominantly takeaway businesses. Covid-19 restrictions have not changed this, and it is up to the food business to ensure safe access and use, following government guidelines.

Do takeaway customers have to order by phone/app/internet?
No, but these methods are advised where long queues of customers are likely outside and social distancing is a problem.

Do I have to control the number of customers who enter my business either to pick up a takeaway or who are waiting to be seated?
Yes, you must ensure that customers can always be 2 metres apart.

Do I have to control the number of customers who enter my café, pub or restaurant?
Yes. You must ensure 2 metre distancing between people from different households who are queuing.

Do food handlers have to wear face coverings?
If the food handlers can work so that they are always 2 metres apart from colleagues and customers they do not have to wear face coverings (other than in the NHS). If this cannot be achieved and food handlers are working at 1 metre+ apart they should wear a face covering or visor. This is to protect others in case they have Covid-19. It does not protect the wearer. Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

Do customers have to provide contact details?
From 18 September 2020 it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data and keep this for 21 days (full details here). Core COVID-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses, and egregious breaches enforced. Groups of customers (one per group) and sole customers should be asked to provide contact details. This is to assist in tracing members of the group who may have been in contact with others and visited your establishment, and have since tested positive for Covid-19. Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from 24 September).

The following information should be collected by the venue, where possible:

For staff

  • the names of staff who work at the premises
  • a contact phone number for each member of staff
  • the dates and times that staff are at work

For customers and visitors

  • the name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group
  • a contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people
  • date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time
  • if a customer will interact with only one member of staff, the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer

Do I need to have tables spaced 2 metres apart?
You need to have customers spaced 2 metres apart. If this cannot be achieved, the customers need to be no closer than 1 metre apart and either facing away from one another (at different tables) or some other mitigating measures such as a screen should be provided.

Planning for reopening

The UK Government has developed a tool to help businesses in England reopen safely during Coronavirus. This tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. Employers have the legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site, such as customers and visitors. The tool will help businesses to easily find out what they should do. Employees can also use this tool to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe.