We understand that businesses may look to change their business model and diversify in order to maintain their business during this time.
The following advice is for those businesses that are looking to make provision for takeaways and deliveries where they have not done so before.
Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food, but, if you are changing how you are used to operating then you should think through the hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place.
A business will only be in a position to do this if they are registered as a food business with Coventry City Council. All foods must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat.
Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool whilst they are being transported. This may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag with ice packs.
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.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has provided advice for business - 'How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery.' Read the latest FSA advice on safely operating food businesses. New guidance has now also been issued to help food businesses to reopen safely when they are allowed to do so. This should be read in conjunction with the Government advice below.
The Government has issued some specific guidance for food businesses on how to operate safely. This is the latest Government advice.
Allergens - There is a wealth of advice for allergens on allergen management on the FSA website.
Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you should consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door and step back at least one metre and wait for your customer to collect it.
Take payments over the phone rather than taking a cash payment.
You have responsibilities to ensure that food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations and in addition you have a general duty to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public.
Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place, and any person so affected and employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately their illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the food business operator.
The advice is that 'if you have been asked to self-isolate, you can order food by phone or online, such as through takeaway services or online shopping deliveries. However, make sure you tell the delivery driver that the items are to be left outside, or as appropriate for your home'. If you are undertaking deliveries, then you should have a system in place whereby clients can notify the restaurant/delivery drivers whether they are self-isolating so that action can be taken accordingly as highlighted above.
Our public health team have also produced a workplace guide for restaurants and takeaways with the key messages needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
At this time we are aware of the proposed government amendments to permitted development rights relating to A3/A4/A5 uses. It is clear from this announcement that further guidance will be forthcoming from the government and until such guidance is released I consider it would be inappropriate to comment further. Until such time as new legislation is confirmed a material change of use to accommodate A5 provision, or to vary/remove restrictive conditions will require planning permission via the normal process.
The Government has issued some general guidance on COVID-19 for employers and businesses.
Read specific advice on operating safely for other types of business such as offices, factories, shops etc.
If you have any further queries regarding the implications of Coronavirus on food safety within your business, please contact the department by email: [email protected] or by phone on 08085 834333.