Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: 23 March 2021 at 8.30am

Advice for reopening you food business after a period of closure

Reopening your food business after a period of closure will require some extra checks alongside your normal daily opening checks. These will help to make sure that your business can restart safely. You will need to maintain your basic hygiene standards and recognise the areas where greater attention will be required.

Please visit the Food Standards Agency food business re-opening guidance page. Here you will find a checklist and advice on what you will need to do before re-opening.

What you need to know about coronavirus (COVID-19) and food

Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food, but if you are continuing to operate your food business then you must think through the hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place.

All food businesses whether established or starting up should familiarise themselves with the latest guidance issued by Public Health England on the Coronavirus situation. This guidance includes information on the social distancing measures to be employed by food businesses that remain open and general hygiene information.

Please make sure that you are familiar with the government guidance for food businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19) available on the GOV.UK website

Advice for businesses undertaking food deliveries and takeaways

All foods must be produced and sold/delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they are not, or do not become, unsafe or unfit to eat. Food businesses should familiarise themselves with the following guidance issued by the Food Standards Agency:

Business guidance for food delivery and takeaways from the Food Standards Agency website.

If you are transporting food then ensure that hot food is kept hot and cold food is kept cold during the delivery. Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. They may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag.

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

Please remember that if you are offering a delivery service you must control contact with other people when delivering orders. You should consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer. Do not hand the delivery to them. Knock on the door, step back at least two metres and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.

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

Businesses offering food online and by mail order

This guidance provides information for businesses selling food online, which outlines legal requirements and safety considerations.

Business guidance for selling online and mail order food available on the Food Standards Agency website.

New businesses

If you are setting up a new food business then you must make sure that it has been registered with a local authority. This should be completed at least 28 days before you intend to open the business.

If you have not registered your business then this can be done via the GOV.UK website.

Please make sure that you are familiar with the guidance documents referred to in the sections above as far as they apply to your business. You should also work through the checklist and guidance links in the document below:

PDF document Your checklist for ensuring food safety(PDF) [416 kb]

General business guidance and information about businesses which must close

We understand that many of you are worried and might be confused about what help is available, how you access it and how you should conduct your day-to-day business going forward. Our general advice page provides you with the latest information on business support being offered through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19

Specific Information and guidance about which businesses must close during this pandemic can be found on the GOV.UK website

If you would like to discuss this further or require any other food safety advice please contact the Environmental Health Team via email Alternatively call 01256 844844 and ask for an officer to call you back.

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