Covid-19 guidance for food businesses

Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

NHS Test and Trace in the workplace - Guidance for employers, businesses and workers

Face coverings: when to wear one and exemptions

Guidance for all food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, dealing with cases and outbreaks

This guidance is intended for all workplaces involved in the manufacturing, processing, warehousing, picking, packaging, retailing and service of food and covers the following topics.

  • Coronavirus Symptoms
  • What you need to know about COVID-19 and food
  • Prevention and management of outbreaks – the role of employers
  • Managing COVID-19 cases in the workplace
  • Cleaning and waste disposal

Cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home - COVID-19

COVID-19 signage for businesses 

(Download signs and posters) 

  1. Limiting the number of customers entering the shop
  2. Maintain 2m distance when queuing outside and inside the shop
  3. Keep a distance of 2m at all times 
  4. Face covering poster A4
  5. Face covering poster A3
  6. Hands, face, space poster A4
  7. Hands,face, space poster A3
  8. Poster – staying COVID_19 secure 

Temporary permission for takeaway services

Planning regulation has been temporarily changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so on a temporary basis under permitted development rights.  Those premises offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this if their license does not already permit. 

This applies to businesses operating from premises which are Use Class A3, A4 or a drinking establishment with expanded food provision as defined in Class AA.  However, this is conditional on the business informing the Local Planning Authority.  If you intend to start offering these services, please notify us by email:

Food safety and hygiene regulations

The following advice is for existing food shops and take-away/delivery food businesses that have remained open, existing food businesses introducing take-away and delivery options where they have not done so before and existing food businesses that have remained closed and are planning to reopen

Our food safety officers are also available to talk through your plans and offer free advice on what procedures and practices you need to put in place, please email to be put in touch with an officer.

  • All food businesses should continue to follow and comply with food standards and food hygiene & safety regulations.  Enforcement action may still be taken against food business operators who fail to comply with regulations and jeopardise the safety of the public through the food they sell.
  • If you are changing how you currently operate, then you should think through the food safety hazards that any changes may introduce to your business, and ensure that you have measures in place to control these hazards and provide safe food for your customers. In addition to the current food safety controls you already have in place there may be additional issues that you need to consider.
  • You are responsible for ensuring that food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations.  In addition you have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public.  With regard to Covid-19 ensure that the government's infection control policy in relation to Coronavirus is followed.  For details visit  UK - COVID 19: Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses
  • Remember to ensure that staff taking orders must always ask customers if they have a food allergy or intolerance.  If you have made any changes to your menu, ensure that you have reviewed your allergy information and that all staff are aware of the changes and can advise customers accordingly.
  • Don’t take more customer orders than you can cope with despite how tempting it may be to help in the effort to “feed and deliver food to the Nation”! An overwhelmed kitchen may lead to mistakes occurring such as under cooked food, order mix-ups and accidents etc.
  • Where possible, a distance of 2 meters, or 1 meter with risk mitigation where 2 meters is not viable, is acceptable should be maintained between staff working in your business to protect them from the risk of infection with Covid-19.  Please refer to the government guidance at:  for detailed information.
  • In retail food premises, the number of customers within the store must be monitored and if necessary access must be limited to avoid congestion and to protect customers from the risk of infection with Covid-19.  Queue management must also be implemented to limit crowds gathering at entrances and a distance of 2 metres maintained between waiting customers for the same reason.  Please refer to the government guidance at:  for detailed information

Hand hygiene and cleaning/disinfection

  • Maintain a good supply of hand soap.  All food handlers should regularly and thoroughly wash their hands using warm running water, hand soap and drying with disposable towels.  Good thorough hand washing alone is effective in removing bacteria and viruses and hand santisers are therefore not essential.  If you are struggling to obtain hand soap from your normal supplier, actively seek out alternative suppliers or consider asking another local business if they can help.
  • Maintain a good supply of surface disinfectant or sanitiser.  Where suitable surface disinfectants or santisers are unavailable you must continue to adequately clean any food preparation surfaces and equipment using detergent and hot water.  You will need to take additional care to physically separate raw and cooked food areas and equipment if you cannot get a food safe surface disinfect or sanitiser.
  • Ensure that phones, till keys, computer keyboards and touch screen ordering devices etc. are regularly cleaned and disinfected.  Remember to also clean and disinfect regularly other touch-points, including those touched by customers, such as counter surfaces, doors and door handles (e.g. fridges and freezers) etc.

Temperature control

If you are delivering food you need to consider how you will do this safely. Foods that need refrigerating should be kept cool during transportation.  This can be achieved by packing in an insulated box or bag with ice blocks.  If you are transporting hot food, it should be kept hot.  This should be packed in an insulated box or bag.  Where ever possible, travel times and distances should be kept as short as possible and limited to within 30 minutes


  • When customers place an order you need to ask if they are self-isolating. This is so that you can limit contact when delivering orders
  • Even for non-isolating customers, you should instruct your delivery person to leave deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them.  The delivery person should knock on the door, then step back at least 2 metres and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.
  • Consider how you are going to take payment to minimise any contact between staff and customers. Encourage payment over the phone by credit/debit card, rather than cash at the door, if you are able to do so.
  • Ensure that all food is appropriately wrapped or packaged for transport or delivery to prevent contamination.  All vehicles and thermal bags, cool boxes etc. used to deliver food must be kept clean, in good repair and condition and free from sources of contamination.
  • A distance of 2 metres should be maintained between delivery drivers awaiting orders ready for delivery.  Delivery drivers must not congregate in the premises, at counters, around doorways or outside.

Take - away / collections

  • Where possible, offer a delivery only service.
  • 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.
  • Stagger collection times so that social distancing within the collection area and outside the premises can be observed.
  • Limiting access to venues for people waiting for or collecting takeaways, by making a plan for example: Allow only one customer into the premises at a time and display a sign to this effect on the front door.  If this is not possible, queue control is required and customers should be encouraged to follow the government’s advice with regard to social distancing between customers by setting out clear demarcation for social distancing of 2 meters (or 1 meter with risk mitigation where 2 meters is not viable, is acceptable) for delivery drivers, riders or customers queuing.  Asking customer’s to wait outside or in their cars.  Please refer to the government guidance at:  for detailed information.
  • Encourage payment over the phone when orders are taken or contact-less payment, rather than cash. you must not refuse cash payments from customers if they cannot pay using a card payment

Further information

Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services:

Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments

Opening certain businesses and venues in England  

Food Standards Agency - reopening checklist for food businesses during COVID-19  

Adapting your food business - guidance employees, employers and businesses  

CIEH - Food delivery and takeaway guidance 

Advice for food businesses in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

GOV.UK- Coronavirus (COVID‑19)

Guidance for consumers about food 

HSE - Talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus 

NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Institute Food Science and Technology - advice for food businesses

For comprehensive food safety and hygiene information and resources please visit  our food safety pages and the Food Standards Agency website  

Whilst we endeavour to provide the most up to date information, please be aware that the nature of the outbreak is ever changing and as a result the government’s scientific advice and direction is constantly under review.  For the most up to date information and guidance please frequently check the links provided.