COVID-19 - advice for street traders

Last updated: 30 March 2020 at 5pm

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020

Central government has implemented measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. Pubs and restaurants have been forced to close in the emergency period.

The above 2020 Regulations prohibit people leaving their homes without reasonable excuse, and ban public gatherings of more than two people. We all need to act now to stop the virus spreading.

Food services offering a pick-up service may remain operational if they can comply with the government guidance. It is imperative takeaway services adhere to Public Health guidelines including social distancing for staff and customers with regular and thorough cleansing and hand washing. Traders continuing to operate must ensure workers and customers maintain social distancing rules at all times, and adopt business practices to stop the spread of coronavirus to save lives.

To assist and reduce people visiting, gathering or waiting at your premises, we recommend:

  • You reduce customers visiting your premises by taking telephone, social media and online orders using card payments with agreed collection times and door step delivery services.
  • You display clear signage on and around trading area enforcing customers queue at two metre distance, stand two metres from your serving area, and wait in their cars until the order is ready.

Specific guidance for food business relating to COVID-19 can be found here:

The Food Standards Agency has also produced food business guidance which can be seen here:

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing regulations and monitoring compliance levels. Council, Trading Standards, and Police Officers are working to ensure safe practice and will address businesses not meeting the new restrictions. Businesses failing to comply can receive fines, be forced to close, and/or be subject to prosecution for breaches. You must assess and adjust your trading so it accords with the guidance, if you cannot comply with the current restrictions (staff and customers), you must not continue to trade during the emergency period.

Food handlers, service staff and delivery personnel must not work if they have any symptoms of illness that will compromise food safety or cause the spread of infection. If staff become unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they must be sent home immediately and advised to follow current NHS advice.

You need to consider all aspects under your business risk assessment and take steps to ensure your workplace is a safe environment at which to trade. If you are unable to operate in accordance with the current government restrictions, you cannot continue to trade in the emergency period.

If you require further guidance, please contact Environmental Health for food safety matters by emailing or Licensing by emailing for street trading matters or call 01256 844844.

Food services offering a pick-up service

For these services:

  • No orders should be taken in person on the premises - customers should be made aware by appropriate signage.
  • Businesses should 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 two metres separation.

Social distancing

The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone. You need to minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a minimum distance of two metres between individuals. This advice applies to both inside the food business and in the external public areas where customers may need to queue. People should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds and more frequently than normal.

The practical implementation of this advice will depend on the local circumstances. This may be best evaluated by the store manager, however a few general indicators may be relevant to the majority of retail outlets:

  • use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms
  • regulate entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded
  • use floor markings inside the commercial spaces to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of 2 metres, particularly in the most crowded areas, such as serving counters and tills
  • use vertical signage to direct customers into lanes if feasible to facilitate movement within the premises while maintaining 2 metre distance
  • make regular announcements to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly
  • place plexiglass barriers at service areas, tills and counters if feasible, as an additional element of protection for workers and customers
  • encourage the use of contactless payments where possible, without disadvantaging older or vulnerable customers
  • provide additional pop-up hand washing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water and hand sanitiser.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Thursday
    8.30am to 5pm
    8.30am to 4.30pm
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