On 23rd March 2020, the UK government announced restrictions on which venues and businesses were required to temporarily shut down in order to reduce the spread of COVID -19. Thanks to the sacrifice and hard work of the British people, the spread of coronavirus has now slowed down. Following the easements announced earlier in May and June, further venues and food businesses will be allowed to open from the 4 July.
The UK government has shared its long-awaited guidance on how restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs can open safely when they’re allowed to do so. The 43-page document they have published outlines a series of recommendations and steps which are designed to protect customers and staff from COVID-19. This guidance is not legally binding and none of these measures will be legislated by the UK government. However, their enforcement could be supervised by local authorities that have their own legislative powers.
Food businesses are being encouraged to consider and follow the COVID-secure guidelines in the same way as they do the regular safety standards, which are administered by local authorities.
Here are the COVID-secure guidelines published by the UK government for food businesses:
- Keep two metres distance from each other, or one metre with risk mitigation in case two metres distance is not possible.
- Maintain distance from customers while taking orders.
- Use social distance floor marking to remind the customers to maintain social distance from each other.
- Calculate the number of customers that can easily follow the social distancing guidelines.
- Rearrange indoor and outdoor seating to maintain social distance between customers.
- Change service approaches to minimize staff contact with the customers.
- Use barriers or screens to separate the staff members from each other and from the customers at the points of service.
- Use side-to-side or back-to-back working when possible.
- Allow only one staff member at a time in walk-in facilities in the kitchens like cold stores.
- Increase the frequency of surface cleaning and handwashing.
- Increase or improve ventilation in indoor spaces.
- Minimize customer self-service of food, condiments, and cutlery to reduce risk of transmission.
- Encourage contactless payments when possible and adjust location of card readers according to social distancing guidelines.
- Provide disposable condiments or clean the non-disposable condiments after each use.
As the food businesses are reopening soon, the responsibility is on the management as well as the customers to take the precautionary measures in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19. The more we stay vigilant and follow these guidelines properly, the earlier we will be able to remove this virus from our lives