Reopening businesses - Coronavirus update
If you are looking to reopen your business, or you are already trading, please use the following checklist to make sure you are operating safely and to find further help and support.
National guidance and legislation is constantly changing – so remember to regularly check the areas relevant to you and your business for the latest developments.
Businesses reopening from 4 July
The government has published specific guidance to help you reopen your business safely.
Please also work through the list below to ensure you have thought about issues such as water safety and additional cleaning.
Are you permitted to open?
Is your business COVID secure?
You must work through the government’s guidance on working safely to make your workplace COVID secure.
The guidance looks at five areas:
- Risk assessments
- Hand washing
- Working from home
- Social distancing
- What to do when you can’t social distance
The government website also provides more detailed guidance, and has sector specific information, which is being updated regularly.
This includes guidance for:
- Offices, shops and call centres
- Close contact services such as hairdressers
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- Factories, plants and warehouses
The Health and Safety Executive also offer advice to businesses by calling 0300 790 6787 lines are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 8pm or you can request advice online.
Are you a food business (including Foodbanks and community cooking)?
As well as checking the you are adhering to the guidance on the government's website, the Food Standard Agency has a checklist and guidance to make sure you have considered issues like:
- pest control
- waste collection
- changes to your Food Safety Management System
Visit the Food Standards Agency’s website and work through the re-opening checklist for food businesses.
If you are operating a Food Bank there is specific guidance for you on the Food Standards Agency website.
Do you need a particular licence or permissions?
Are you purchasing equipment for your employees?
In order to re-open your business safely, you my need to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or hand sanitiser, and use appropriately.
Be aware of guidance on product safety and ensure you are purchasing appropriate equipment from a reputable supplier.
Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for more information, or read the government's guidance on product safety for businesses.
Keeping records of visitors, staff, customers, etc.
Air conditioning and ventilation
Consumer protection advice
Food industry guidance
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Protect against scams
Food businesses operating as takeaways
During the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, many food businesses have moved to a takeaway model, following the social distancing measures implemented by the government. The Food Standards Agency has advised that it's improbable that COVID-19 can be transferred from one person to another via food.
As part of Coronavirus response, read the Government press release, granting permission for pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways.
If you're a business that wants to begin operating in this way, then you will need to consider a number of things.
Moving to a take-away model
- The requirements for food production haven't changed. It's as important as ever to make sure that you continue to adhere to food hygiene and safety
- You should have suitable facilities to offer takeaways including structure, hand washing facilities, equipment washing and proper toilet provision
- Your staff should be trained, fit and able to work. Also consider the additional risks to these staff; how are you going minimise their risk of exposure to the virus?
- Ensure your staff are practising social distancing, as advised by the government
- You should have a suitably documented Food Safety Management System (such as Safer Food Better Business which you can download for free) for your business. If offering takeaway meals is new to your business, review what you're doing to see if there are any significant changes to be made
- Identify which food options are going to be made available for takeaway and delivery. Not all of your usual menu items will be suitable for takeaway
- Take the chance to review your allergen procedures and establish how this allergen information is going to be communicated? Customers must be advised to 'ask about allergens' at any point where orders can be placed, such as menus and websites. Consider who is going to pass on this information. How will you avoid cross-contamination in transit? How will you ensure the right customer gets the right meal? Further advice for business about allergens is available from the Food Standards Agency website.
- Ensure you have adequate storage facilities for any additional stock you're purchasing
- Think about how you're going to process the food orders and update your foods safety management system. Will you be significantly changing the way you cook and pre-preparing food? If so, how are you hot holding/cooling and refrigerating it? Are you preparing food in advance or continuing to cook to order?
- Think about the practicalities of the food delivery; how far are you going to deliver meals? How will you arrange payment? Are the containers that are to be used food safe? Is further insurance required?
- How are you going to carry out the delivery to ensure temperature control is maintained and to prevent cross-contamination? We advise that use insulated boxes - in particular, separate boxes for cold and hot food items.
We'll be updating this advice with further guidance as the national situation to the coronavirus pandemic changes.
Social distancing concerns in a business environment?
If you're concerned that a local business isn't following the social distancing guidance you could speak to, the person in charge of the work, your employer, your union or employee representative.
You can also contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about this by calling 0300 790 6787 or highlight it to the HSE online.