Government Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Food hygiene guidance
A Food Safety Management System (FSMS) that includes existing food hygiene guidance and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) processes should be followed.
Employers should stress the importance of more frequent handwashing and maintaining good hygiene practices in food preparation and handling areas.
Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products.
While food packaging is not known to present a specific risk, efforts should be made to ensure it is cleaned and handled in line with usual food safety practices.
Cleaning should be in line with food hygiene practice and the environmental controls set out in the business’ HACCP.
Takeaways and restaurants offering a pick-up service
- no orders should be taken in person on the premises - this should be communicated to customers by appropriate means such as signage
- businesses should therefore only take orders online or by telephone
- customers could have staggered collection times - customers should be discouraged from entering the premises until their order is ready
- customers arriving without having already placed an order should be encouraged to leave the premises to place their order by telephone or online, and to return at a designated time for collection
- customers whose orders are ready should enter one at a time to collect orders and make payments
- businesses should discourage crowding outside the premises. Where possible, use queue management systems to maintain the 2 metres separation
Outdoor Food Markets/Farmers Markets
The main concern with outdoor food markets is to avoid crowds gathering. Local Authorities may have decided to close such markets as part of actions taken to maintain social distancing.
Where markets are still in operation, we encourage food market operators to consider how they can safely sell their products without encouraging crowds and ensure hygiene measures are in place. This can be done by:
- taking orders online or by telephone in advance and pre-packing orders to limit face-to-face time in the market
- considering delivery services if possible
Managing Employee Sickness
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance. If you or an employee are experiencing symptoms, visit NHS 111 online or call 111 if there is no internet access. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.
It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home, unless government policy changes. You should keep monitoring the government response to coronavirus for further updates.
The Food Standards Agency’s fitness for work guidance for staff who handle food products provides advice on managing sickness in a food business. Understanding this guidance and applying it on both a personal and business level can help to prevent the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).