The government have allowed takeaway, delivery services, and essential retailers to remain operational in line with guidance issued on Friday 20 March 2020.

IMPORTANT UPDATED GUIDANCE - Working safely during Covid-19 - See updated guidance, 11th May 2020

Basildon Council understand that food businesses may consider changing their business model and diversify in order to maintain their business during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The following advice is for those businesses that are adapting their business to make provision for takeaways and deliveries where they have not done so before.

Only businesses that are are registered as a food business with a Local Authority are permitted to adapt their business to make provision for takeaways and deliveries where they have not done so before.

Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food but, if you are changing how you are used to operating then you should carefully consider the possible hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place.

All foods must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat.

Planning regulation has been changed to enable restaurants, caf├ęs and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. The developer must notify the local planning authority if the building and any land within its curtilage is being used, or will be used, for the provision of takeaway food. The legislation can be accessed online. See:

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have provided advice for business - 'How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery.' See:

In addition, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health have produced a helpful toolkit 'Food Delivery and Takeaway Guidance' for businesses that offer collections on site and deliveries to customers. See:

Further guidance and  information can be found in the letter we recently sent out to for retail business operators. See:

Venues offering takeaway or delivery services must NOT include alcoholic beverages in the list if their license does not already permit.

Working safely during Covid-19 - Guidance updated on 11th May 2020

Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.

On the 11th May 2020 the Government released updated guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed in the UK understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping as many people as possible 2 metres apart from those they do not live with.

For details and downloadable guidance documents visit: GOV.UK - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery.

Find out if customers are self-isolating or showing COVID-19 symptoms

You must put a process in place at the point of ordering  to establish whether or not a customer is self-isolating or or showing COVID-19 symptoms.

The process must include arrangements for this information to be communicated to delivery drivers and/or riders in order to to minimise the risk to them of COVID-19 transmission.

Food takeaway premises COVID-19 precautions

If you are operating a collection or take-away service, customers must be encouraged to sanitise their hands upon arrival at the premises. It is recommended that hand sanitiser is placed at the entrance with a sign asking customers to use it before entering.

Staff handing over food should place it down and keep a sensible distance from the customer. This area should be regularly sanitised throughout the day and staff should wash their hands after each handover.

You should try to adopt a one-in-one-out policy and identify allocated collection times for customers to avoid queuing outside the premise. If this is not possible, then you should ensure a queue control system is implemented, inside and outside your premises, ensuring the two meter distancing requirement is applied.

Download and display our Social Distancing precautions sign

We recommend displaying a COVID-19 Social Distancing precautions  sign at the entrance to your premises. Download and display the following COVID-19 precaution sign for display at the entrance to your premises, or design and print your own. See:

Social distancing for staff

It is extremely important that staff can keep themselves and others safe. Staff must stay two metres away from each other at all times. People can be infected but not show any symptoms.

Ensure all staff understand what is expected of them and make sure their working area is reviewed and rearranged if necessary to allow this to happen safely. For example, you may have to put in extra controls that say only one person can be in the walk-in chiller at any time.

Make sure this two metres rule applies at all times - this includes in the kitchen, front-of-house, lunch and break times, and monitor compliance with this.

Customer ordering and allergies

If you have a website you should put a clear sign on this stating "Please speak to a member of staff if you have any food allergies"

When customers phone to place an order, you should ask them if they or any of the people eating the food have any allergies. If they do, make a note of their requirements and ensure their food is prepared safely for them then clearly labelled. Any food prepared for allergenic customers should be stored separately for and during delivery.

If you are not in a position to prepare allergen free meals you must make this clear to customers.

Allergic reactions to ingredients can be fatal. Please see the full list of 14 allergens for further information.

There is a wealth of advice for businesses on allergen management on the FSA website. See:

Food should be put into food safe containers for delivery.

Transport

Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. This may need to be packed in a clean insulated box with a coolant gel or in a clean cool bag.

If you are transporting hot food, it should be kept hot. This may need to be packed in a clean insulated box. It is recommended to keep distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.

Vehicles must be fit for purpose and food must not be subjected to potential contamination. Keep the interior of the vehicle clean and do not transport food with animals or chemicals such as fuel, oil and screen wash.

Contact-free delivery

Drivers should wash their hands on arrival for pick-ups and when returning after deliveries.

Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door step back 2 meters and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.

Take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking a cash payment.

Infection Control

You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations and in addition you have a general duty to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public.

Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place, and any person so affected and employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately the illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the food business operator. 

The Government have issued guidance on COVID-19 for employees and businesses. See:

However, this is not specific for food businesses, but it does advise that 'if you have been asked to self-isolate, you can order by phone or online, such as through takeaway services or online shopping deliveries.  However, make sure you tell the delivery driver that the items are to be left outside, or as appropriate for your home'.

If you are undertaking deliveries, then you should have a system in place to ascertain/develop a system whereby clients can notify the restaurant/delivery drivers whether they are self-isolating so that action can be taken accordingly as highlighted above.

Going forward, you will need to take note of any additional advice published by the government, which may supersede the information published here. Any updates should be available from the GOV.UK website. See:

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Environmental Health Services - Admin
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01268 533333