Latest update for food businesses opening in Lockdown 3

Where are we now?

We are currently under Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ lockdown restrictions. This  has caused further disruption and issues for hospitality businesses particularly pubs and sit down restaurants. Food businesses that can stay open  must make sure they follow the current rules to make sure that they stay legal.

The Alert level in England has been increased to level 5. This means that the epidemic is in general circulation and transmission of the virus is rising. Ultimately there is a risk of health care services being overwhelmed. In fact in the last few days this has been reported as being the case with ambulances stacked up outside hospitals and there not being enough beds for incoming patients. The chink of light in all this doom and gloom is the role out of the two approved vaccines, and this can’t come quickly enough for everyone including the hospitality sector.

Tier 4 restrictions for hospitality businesses

Restaurants, pubs and bars including in hotels and social clubs must close. However they can offer takeaway from 5am to 11pm for customers to collect food and non alcoholic drinks from inside the premises. Also food can also be delivered and there is no restriction on delivery hours so these can be done in the 11pm to 5am window. Alcoholic drinks can only be served if delivered, and only if the premise license permits

Risk Assessment  update: controls for takeaways

Update your risk assessment and think about how you are going to keep your customers, staff and visitors, like delivery drivers safe. Here are some example risk assessment controls you may wish to consider, for customers:

  • Customers must not pick up takeaways if they have COVID symptoms
  • Wear a face covering when picking up takeaways
  • Enter the premises alone when picking up takeaways
  • Staggered pick up times for collection
  • Use hand sanitizer on entry
  • Pick up food from a designated collection point

For staff:

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Social distancing
  • Work in cohorts or bubbles
  • Working back to back or side to side
  • Disinfection of staff areas and hand contact surfaces
  • Wearing a face covering if customer facing

Restrictions for food deliveries

Food must be pre-ordered via a website/online, by phone/text or by post. Deliveries must be paid for online/phone and delivered to the customer’s house/business.

Delivery drivers must follow your COVID controls to make sure that the food is delivered safely. Here are some examples of controls you could use:

  • Food delivered in clean food safe containers or bags
  • Food delivered to the customers doorstep
  • Drivers delivering food to households must ring the doorbell/knock on the door.
  • Maintain social distancing of 2m to allow customers to safely pick up their food delivery
  • Delivery drivers must wash their hands or sanitise with hand sanitiser gel, before pick up and on delivery of the food
  • Disinfect the vehicle used for food deliveries regularly including hand contact points eg. steering wheel, driver door, gear stick etc.

Where else can I find help on takeaways and deliveries?

UK Hospitality and the Food Standards Agency have lots of useful guidance and information to help hospitality businesses. Check out your local environmental health website and the relevant guidance on gov.uk HERE.

Also take a look at my risk assessment updated template for Lockdown 3 which you can download by signing up on my HOME PAGE. Here you will find lots of example controls that you could use in your food business if you are doing takeaway and delivery. Adapt it to fit what you are doing to keep everyone safe who comes into or orders food from you at this difficult time.

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