This guidance applies to any food preparation or service setting where food is sold for takeaway or delivery, including mobile catering. It also applies to food services provided by businesses, but not to food preparation or service in clinical or healthcare settings.

Social distancing 

Social distancing measures should include staggering arrival and departure times, providing additional parking facilities, reducing congestion and using markings, ensuring handwashing (or hand sanitiser) facilities at entries and exit points and providing alternatives to touch-based security systems. Workers should be encouraged to change into work uniforms, and wash them, onsite.

Non-essential travel within buildings and sites should be minimised, rotation of jobs and locations should be minimised, one way flows should be introduced, high traffic areas should be regulated and lifts should have maximum occupancy levels and be provided with hand sanitiser.

Workstation layouts and processes should be reviewed. Only where it is not possible to move workstations should people be asked to work side-by-side or facing away from each other, rather than face-to-face. Screens should be considered, for example, at till points.

In kitchens and food preparation areas, access should be allowed to as few people as possible. Interaction between kitchen staff and other workers should be minimised. Teams should be used in shifts to restrict interaction. Work stations should be spaced two metres apart ‘as much as possible’. Consideration should be given to using ‘cleanable panels to separate workstations in larger kitchens’. One-way traffic flows should be used. Access to walk-in pantries, fridges and freezers should be minimised. ‘Handover points’, such as when presenting food to serving staff and delivery drivers should also be minimised. 

Bar areas, seated restaurant and café areas should all remain closed for the time being. All food and drink outlets should be takeaway only.

Social distancing is to be maintained in common areas, and this will include measures such as staggered break times and using outside areas for breaks.

Managing customers, visitors and contractors 

So as to minimise contact from visits to restaurants, bars and cafés, measures will include providing handwashing and sanitiser facilities, regulating entry routes and providing floor markings, providing guidance and determining whether schedules for essential services and contactor visits can be revised.

To minimise contacts with other workers and the public when selling food or drinks, measures will include minimising contact between kitchen workers, front of house workers and delivery drivers or riders, using front of house staff to serve customers, using physical barriers, encouraging contactless payment, limiting access to premises, asking customers to order online and making regular announcements.

Cleaning the workplace 

Any site that has been closed will need to be checked to make sure it is ready to restart. This will include checking ventilation and air conditioning systems and cleaning procedures.

To keep the workplace clean, measures will include wedging doors open to reduce touchpoints, cleaning laminated menus or disposing of paper menus after use, providing only disposable condiments and cleaning any non-disposable condiments regularly. Specific guidance is provided for cleaning after known or suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Steps in the kitchen will include following specific guidance on cleaning food preparation and service areas, recognising the already stringent cleaning measures and considering whether additional cleaning and disinfection measures are needed, having bins for collection of used towels and overalls, asking staff to wash hands before handling plates or takeaway boxes and enhanced handwashing and sanitation facilities.

Clear procedures will also be required for use of any shower and changing facilities and for cleaning goods and merchandise entering the premises.

Workforce management

So as to reduce contact, measures will include splitting into fixed teams or shift groups and reducing congestion caused by people flow at ‘pinch points’.

Non-essential travel, and different people travelling together in one vehicle, should be minimised. Deliveries to other sites should be minimised. 

Inbound and outbound goods 

So as to maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission, measures will include revising pick-up and drop-off points, considering methods to reduce frequency of delivery, reducing gatehouse security contact, having single workers load or unload (or the same pairs of workers where more than one person is needed), encouraging drivers to stay in their vehicles where safety is not compromised and adjusting put-away and replenishment rules. 

You can read the guidance in full here.

Articles shared by Thompsons relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) are correct at the time of publication. You should check the government's guidelines for the latest information and advice at