Covid-19Posted on 26.03.2020

New legal requirements for food businesses

Whilst we’re sure you’re doing everything you can to keep you and your team safe, it’s very important to keep-up-to-date with the latest Government guidance so you know just what to do in this fast-moving situation. 

As you know, the Government announced the requirement that all food businesses must stop all dine-in business, with only takeaway or collection sales allowed. Businesses that remain open must enforce social distancing for both customers and staff.

The Government also have announced new guidelines for food businesses which includes information on;

  • Food hygiene
  • Food packaging
  • Cleaning and waste disposal
  • More detailed information for takeaways and restaurants offering food collection
  • Social distancing requirements
  • Managing employee sickness

Local Councils have been appointed to make sure that Restaurants are implementing official Government instructions and legal requirements. To help ensure that you’re following the new guidelines we have summarised the key points: 

Social Distancing

Where employees attend work, social distancing must be implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This involves maintaining a distance of at least two metres (6.5 feet) between people. Failure to comply to social distancing could result in the council shutting you down with immediate effect and/ or potentially unlimited fines.

Restaurant set up for delivery & collection - more details

In addition to the existing Food Hygiene Guidance you should continue to encourage staff to regularly wash hands and frequently clean and disinfect all touch points.

Remove any in-store or outside seating where possible. Display clear signage in your business saying seating is not for use.

Remove any reusable utensils and keep napkins, cutlery and sauces behind the counter

Set up a collection area that enables customers to keep the government-recommended distance from both your team and each other when collecting an order. Consider allowing only one person in at a time for collection. You will need to adapt this based on the size of your premises, but customers must be kept at least two metres apart and two metres from all staff.

Regularly clean with disinfectant all touch points e.g. takeaway counter, keypads, door handles etc. Hand sanitisers should be provided by restaurants where possible.

Keep doors open where possible to minimise contact with surfaces.

Put clear signage near your door explaining your precautions and ask that everyone keeps at least two metres apart (in-store and queuing). We will be creating a sign for you to print off and display in your window, or you can create your own. An example of what should be included is:

We respectfully ask that you help us to keep you safe:

- Only one customer in the premises at any one time
- You must stay two meters from staff and other customers
- Please use hand sanitiser at entrance
- Please stick to my two meter distance markers in queues


Continue to properly seal all packaging before handing over the meal/bag

Here are some things to consider in managing your business during the COVID-19 period:

  • Reducing the number of items on your menus to make service easier to manage
  • Only having essential staff on the premises where possible
  • For orders taken directly from customers you should: 
    • Encourage customers to ring in their order or to order from the doorway 
    • Where possible use contactless for payment 
    • If the customer is collecting their food in person from a restaurant which offers a pick-up service, you should adhere to the social distancing rules set out by the food business. This may include having staggered collection times and using a queue management system to maintain the 2 metre separation.
    • Where possible, encourage customers to use contactless payment rather than cash. If staff must handle money, it is important they wash their hands afterwards and always before handling food

By following these guidelines you’ll give your business the best chance of success as we all work together to get through this challenge.