Food businesses in England have been restricted in how they operate during the ‘Stay at Home’ Lockdown which started on 5th January 2021. From 8th March  restrictions have started to lift following the Government’s Spring Road Map although catering businesses can only stay open if they are able to deliver or offer a take away service.

From 12th April if you have an external seating  area you can serve customer outdoors (or in an outdoor shelter which must have at least half of it’s walls open but can have a roof ).

Further lifting of restrictions from 17th May will allow hospitality businesses to open fully but as businesses reopen they  must be COVID secure and have a risk assessment in place to keep customers, staff and visitors safe.

Useful resources to help you

Guidance and best practice is being published regularly by government but some of it may seem confusing and difficult to understand or find. Here are some useful resources and documents to help you get your head around what to do. Maybe your business is open, closed or you just want to get organized and plan for when the restrictions are lifted.

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Create a QR code for your food business (restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs)

Click on the link Create a QR code here  and follow the simple instructions to create a QR code to help the NHS track and trace system.

By law you must display your QR code. Also advise your customers to use it if they have a smart phone (this is for individuals not groups) or record their details manually.

NEW!! Once hospitality businesses reopen you must ask every visitor or customer over the age of 16 to scan the QR Code displayed or write down their name, telephone number/email/postal address and date and time of entry .This information should be kept for 21 days then erased or destroyed. You may already have this information if you use a booking system.

You should also record details of staff working times and dates and if they are assigned to a specific table then you should record that too.

Track and Trace

How to record your staff, customers and visitors information manually to help with the NHS Track and Trace system Read More.

Food delivery and takeaway

If you decide to change the way your business operates including offering delivery and/or takeaway you must:

  • Contact your Local Environmental Health Department and tell them what the changes are
  • Update your Food Safety Management System or HACCP to include delivery and/or takeaway
  • If customers are ordering off a website or over the phone you must provide allergen information before they order and label the food being delivered or collected.
  • Put in place social distancing measures and complete a risk assessment*
  • Food delivery and takeaway guidance

Coronavirus Risk Assessment – Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services (click here for latest version)

Once you have completed your risk assessment you can display this poster to help reassure your customers that you are doing everything you can to help stop the spread of the virus.

*Remember if you have more than 5 employees then legally you must write down your Covid-19 risk assessment.

Check out my Free Risk Assessment Template

I have put together a Covid-19 risk assessment with some sample controls that you can use to get started, or help you to review your current assessment.

Get your free download of the latest version for Step 2 from 12th April (and for takeaway/delivery) by signing up on my HOME PAGE

Coronavirus re opening document

This checklist will help you to plan to re-open your business now the restrictions  have been lifted Re opening checklist

Signage (downloadable posters to print and display)

Face Coverings

By law staff and employers must  wear face coverings (unless exempt) if they come into contact with customers. All hospitality businesses should display a notice advising customers and staff to wear a face covering before entering the premises and keep it on where required.


From 17th May 2021-National Restrictions Spring 2021 Step 3 – indoor hospitality

Following the Government roadmap restrictions will be lifted no earlier than 17th May 2021 to allow hospitality businesses to open indoors for groups of up to 6 or 2 households of any size. If you serve alcohol customers will need to order/eat and be served at the table. If not customers will be able to order food and drink from a counter but must be seated to eat or drink.

From 12th April 2021 – National Restrictions Spring 2021 Step 2 – outdoor hospitality

The same restrictions apply to outdoor dining as those who will be offering indoor dining (see above)

If you are a takeaway you will be able to serve alcohol as well as food to be consumed off the premises

Other changes are increased natural ventilation where possible; work place lateral flow testing onsite where appropriate for workers; collecting data for every customer aged over 16 for NHS test and trace via the NHS QR code or collecting the information from customers.

Also you should have a plan in place incase of a COVID outbreak at your premises. You should nominate a single point of contact to get in touch and liaise with the Public Health Team. Click here to search for your local health protection team in England.

Remember to put in place or review your risk assessment by following the updated guidance  here

Please Get in Touch! if you need help with putting together your COVID Risk Assessments.