The Government issues new guidance for restaurants with a takeaway or delivery offering
The Government has revealed its 3-step roadmap for the UK to ease lockdown and restart the country’s economy. Whilst it has been announced that non-essential retail can reopen from 15 June providing the premises is COVID-secure, the hospitality sector is still not to reopen. So, it looks like restaurants and other food establishments will continue to offer takeaways for a little while longer.
The Government has published new guidelines which apply to any food preparation or food service setting where food is sold for takeaway or delivery. This includes bars, pubs and restaurants operating as takeaways, cafes, food to go, food delivery, takeaways and mobile catering and contract catering at the point of service to the consumer, such as in offices or similar environments. It’s vital that as a restaurant owner you ensure that your staff and customers are kept as safe as possible and they understand how to work safely when providing takeaway and food delivery services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Relaxation of planning use for restaurants to offer takeaway and delivery services
The Government has announced a relaxation of planning rules in England to assist pubs and restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. For the next 12 months premises which were not previously allowed to operate as takeaways providing hot food and drink will be permitted to do so.
The 5 steps for working safely when offering food takeaway or delivery services
The Government has set out 5 steps to safer working together and has provided a poster employers can display in the workplace to show they have taken the necessary steps and guidance to make the workplace safe.
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
- Develop cleaning, hand washing, and hygiene procedures
- Help people to work from home
- Maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible
- Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk
For restaurants offering takeaway or delivery, the likelihood is that taking the step to help people work from home might not be possible as at least your cooking staff will be required on the premises to provide the food.
Restarting or reopening your restaurant to offer takeaway and delivery services
If you are restarting operations, you must review your normal procedures and assess whether you need to take any additional measures. This will include putting cleaning plans and procedures in place and ensuring that you have taken appropriate action to conform to all the Government guidelines relating to social distancing and the health and safety of your staff and customers.
Create a dialogue with your staff about safety measures
Both the Government and the Health and Safety Executive guidance highlight the importance of talking with your employees and involving them in the measures you are taking to manage the risk of coronavirus. These could include an explanation of the measures, ensuring that they will be functional and listening to employees’ ideas so that your retail business will continue to operate safely.
Risk assessment must include the specific risks related to coronavirus
As a restaurant owner, you already assess for several risks such as the implementation of hygiene procedures to manage the risk level of food poisoning to your guests but now you must take this one step further and make sure that the risk assessment for your business also addresses the risks of COVID-19. Measures to mitigate against coronavirus include social distancing, cleaning and hygiene.
Consulting with and sharing the results of your risk assessment with your employees will give them confidence that you have followed the 5 steps to provide a safer working environment.
The risk assessment for COVID-19 should be a separate document that sits outside of any normal day to day business risk assessments.
Special considerations for restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services
Food safety is paramount as are cleaning, disinfection and hygiene procedures.
• Your business must be compliant with allergen and hygiene requirements for distance selling
• Vehicles and containers used for transporting anything other than food, must be thoroughly cleaned if required between loads
• HACCP plans or HACCP-based Food Safety Management Systems need to be updated to include details of transported food
• You must carry out frequent and thorough cleaning of premises and equipment
• Any chemicals used must be approved as food safe
• If regular cleaning products are not available, further advice should be sought from a food safety consultant
• PPE should be set out in line with current Health & Safety at work policies
Guidance for takeaways and restaurants offering a pick-up service
If you are operating a collection or takeaway service, the guidance recommends that hand sanitiser be placed at the entrance of your premises.
- Orders should be made online, by app or by phone wherever possible
- Non-cash payments should be encouraged
- Customers waiting to order or collect should wait in a designated area where social distancing of 2m can be applied
- Customers should enter the premises one at a time, but only when their order is ready
- Collection times should be staggered to discourage crowding
- Try to designate a special area for food collection
Prioritising the hygiene and cleaning of your retail premises
Your aim will be to minimise contact that results from a customer visit to your retail business. Measures need to be implemented alongside safety requirements such as the Health and Safety at Work regulations. When considering the hygiene and cleaning of your shop so that it is safe for customers, provide hand sanitation dispensers where possible and identify any key touch points including the keypads of payment machines, counters and doors.
Managing your workforce to keep them safe
Earlier in this piece we looked at undertaking a risk assessment and how communicating with staff during this phase will give them confidence to return to work.
The best way of managing your staff safety beyond the risk assessment is to ensure that all of your staff are fully aware of and understand the social distancing measures that have to be in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Managing delivery drivers and riders
Delivery drivers are food handlers and must have training on safe food handling and personal hygiene and must report any infections or illnesses.
- Drivers must wash or sanitise their hands before and after collection
- Hand sanitiser should be supplied to drivers and riders
- A drop-off system must be implemented observing social distancing regulations
- Food pick-ups should be made in low-risk areas to prevent drivers from entering kitchen areas or coming into contact with kitchen staff
Keep your staff safe by introducing the following general measures:
- Communicate Government messages regularly and visibly (verbally/in writing)
- Ensure multi-person contact points such as door handles and counters are cleaned regularly
- Facilitate regular breaks for staff to wash and/or sanitise their hands
- Carry out advanced and deep cleaning of all work areas
- Stagger shift starts and break times to avoid overcrowding
- Arrange rotas so that the same staff work together where possible
- Have sufficient PPE equipment available including masks, gloves and visors if required
What do you do if a staff member cannot return to work?
You may have employees for whom it is not possible to return to work straight away. They may have been on furlough for less than the minimum period or have been advised by letter from the NHS to remain in their homes due to being in a high-risk category. Although schools are beginning a phased reopening, not all age groups will be included immediately so there may be some employees who cannot get childcare and will not be able to return to work as a result. As an employer, you should not force a return if there is no provision for childcare and the key to managing this is that you must maintain communication with your employees so that you can make provisions (for example, by adjusting your opening hours).
The track and trace system implemented by the Government may affect your staff and mean that they are unable to come to work. If they are contacted by the NHS test and trace service due to recent close contact with someone who has tested positive with coronavirus, they will have been told to begin self-isolation for 14 days. This is advised even if they are not feeling unwell. As an employer, you should support workers who are told to self-isolate and must not ask them to attend work.
What do you do if a staff member develops coronavirus symptoms?
If an employee develops coronavirus symptoms, they should not return to the workplace and should be self-isolating at home. If they are already at work and notify you that they have symptoms, the employee should go home.
If someone with coronavirus comes to work, the workplace does not necessarily have to close but cleaning advice should be followed. Click here to see advice for cleaning food businesses.
If you are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus you should check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay.
For further information on restaurants offering a delivery or takeaway service, please visit the following:
- Government guidance for restaurants offering a delivery or takeaway service
- Government guidance for food businesses
- More information on the Government’s announcement to grant permission for food establishments to operate as takeaways
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s guidance on operating food delivery and takeaway during the coronavirus pandemic
What can The Retail Mutual do for your business?
The Retail Mutual understands that this is a difficult and frustrating time for restaurant owners, with takeaway and food delivery services currently the only option for generating revenue. The Retail Mutual is here to protect independent retailers with an alternative to insurance for your business, home, and landlord property. Our team is available to talk through your cover needs – just call 0333 2121 280 or start your quote online.