United We Stand

How food businesses can keep staff and customers safe

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Coronavirus safety tips for food businesses

Related tags: UnitedWeStand, Coronavirus

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has created guidance to help food businesses still trading prevent the spread of coronavirus.

These steps, developed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), include tips on good hygiene practice, managing employee sickness, and social distancing in food businesses.

Takeaways and restaurants offering a pick-up service

  • No orders should be taken in person on the premises - this should be communicated to customers using signage
  • Orders should only be taken online or by telephone
  • Consider staggering collection times and discourage customers from entering the premises until their order is ready
  • Customers who arrive without having placed an order should be encouraged to leave the premises to place their order by telephone or online, and to return at a set time for collection
  • Customers whose orders are ready should enter one at a time to collect and pay
  • Crowding outside premises should be discouraged. Where possible, use queue management systems to maintain a two metre separation

Food hygiene

  • Coronavirus is not known to be transmitted through food, but employers should encourage anyone handling food to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Objects and surfaces that are touched regularly should be frequently cleaned and disinfected
  • Food packaging is not known to present a risk, but it should be cleaned and handled in line with usual food safety guidelines
  • The government has provided guidance on cleaning and waste disposal to prevent thee spread of coronavirus here
  • Posters, leaflets and other resources to remind staff are available here

Social distancing

Employers need to minimise the opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining two metres distance between staff members and customers. This can be done by:

  • Using signs to ask customers not to enter if they have symptoms
  • Regulating customer entry to prevent overcrowding
  • Using floor markings to encourage a two metre distance in busy areas such as tills and serving counters
  • Using signs to direct customers to queue in lanes
  • Placing plexiglass barriers at tills and counters as additional protection for staff and customers
  • Providing pop-up handwashing stations if possible

Managing employee sickness

  • If anyone develops a new, continuous cough or a high temperature at work they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for seven days from when the symptoms started. All other household members, who may have no symptoms, should not leave the house for 14 days
  • If anyone in the business is experiencing symptoms, visit NHS 111 online or call 111. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
  • If a member of staff has helped someone who was displaying symptoms, they do not need to go home unless they start exhibiting symptoms themselves.
  • Anyone who has been in contact with someone unwell should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds afterwards
  • See the FSA’s fitness for work guidance​ for further help on managing sickness in a food business

Government guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)

#UnitedWeStand has been created by William Reed hospitality titles BigHospitality, Restaurant magazine and Morning Advertiser and is supported by Arla Pro, McCain and Unilever Food Solutions.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

Related news

Show more


Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Featured Suppliers

All suppliers

Free Email Newsletters

Subscribe to BigHospitality & Restaurant

From fine dining to street food, choose the newsletter that suits you and get the latest news & analysis straight to your inbox!