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Businesses Advice - Offering Food Takeaway or Delivery During the Coronavirus Outbreak


The government has required a number of food businesses to close in response to the Covid-19 outbreak to prevent people from meeting and potentially spreading the virus. This applies to

  • Restaurants including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels and members clubs
  • Cafes including workplace canteens
  • Bars including those in hotels or members clubs
  • Public Houses


Can I operate as a takeaway?

If your business is one of those listed above then an exemption allows you to be able trade by providing a takeaway or food delivery service. This covers the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for consumers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by consumers off the premises.

It is very important that you consider the wider implications of infection control and Government guidance on social distancing if you intend to continue to operate on a takeaway basis and ensure that this considered in your risk assessment as you move to a takeaway and/or delivery service. In particular, you may wish to reduce your menu to a core set items to help in the distancing of staff in the preparation area.


What Public Health Precautions must I consider?

  • You should avoid orders being taken in person on the premises. You should communicate this to customers by appropriate means such as signage.
  • You should therefore seek to only take orders online or by telephone.
  • If customers arrive without placing an order already should be encouraged to leave the premises to place their order and return at a designated time for collection.
  • Customers should have staggered collection times and you should ask them not to arrive to collect before that time. Customers should be discouraged from entering the premises until their order is ready.
  • Customers whose order are ready should enter one at a time to collect orders and make payments
  • You should discourage crowding outside the premises. Where possible, use queue management systems to maintain the 2 separation.


What should I consider if I offer delivery?

  • You should ensure that all food has been paid for before delivery. The delivery driver should not have to handle any money.
  • Ensure that delivery staff do not congregate awaiting the delivery. You should consider asking them to wait in their car and you take the food to them.
  • You have ensure that there is no personal handover to the customer - rather instruct delivery drivers to ring the doorbell, put the food down and step back. 
  • Provide hand sanitiser to delivery drivers.


Can I offer use of an outdoor seating area or pub beer garden?

If you have an outside area such as a beer garden or street furniture where seating is normally made available to customers, you must ensure that this area cannot be used - either by removing the seating or taking it out of use.

Further information can be found here:


Managing Risk

Employers must look after employees and the public and reduce workplace risks to the lowest practicable level. In the context of Covid-19 this means risk assessing and considering:

  • increasing frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
  • make efforts to enable working from home. Where not possible, make reasonable efforts to comply with social distancing guidelines (keeping people 2m apart)
  • when social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, consider if that activity needs to continue for the business to operate and if so:
    • keep the activity time as short as possible
    • use screens/barriers to separate people
    • use back-to-back or side-to-side working rather than face-to-face
    • Reduce the number of people each person has contact with - using fixed teams or partnering
  • especially those who may be especially vulnerable to Covid-19


Does it matter that I do not have planning permission to do takeaways?

The Government has put in place emergency measures to relax planning laws to allow social venues including businesses such as pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways and to start providing food delivery services straightaway through a new permitted development right. This temporary measure is straightforward but will make a real difference.

You must notify us in writing to tell us that you will be operating as a takeaway. Details on how to notify us can be found by following


Do I need any other licences?

If you intend to sell any takeaway food between 11pm and 5am you must hold a licence under the Licensing Act 2003. See for more information.

You will not be able to sell alcoholic drinks for consumption off site unless your permits off sales. If your licence does permit off sales all alcohol sold must be in a sealed container, i.e. bottles, kegs etc.

We want to encourage and support you if you choose to provide takeaway food. Please call us on 023 8028 5230 or email and we will try to contact you promptly to give you practical advice on how you can do this successfully.


How do I notify consumers about allergens?

Allergens need to be considered if you are delivering food to your customers. This must be provided:

  • before the purchase of the food is complete, and;
  • when the food is delivered.

The allergen information should be available to a customer in a written form at some point between a customer placing the order and taking delivery of it.

Additional information on allergens can be accessed through the FSA website - Allergen guidance for food businesses

What else should I consider?

If you have had to close your swimming pool or spa facilities,  you should not forget the need to manage the risks from Legionella growth within water distribution systems feeding showers, changing rooms, kitchens and spas etc.

The Health and Safety Executive Approved Code of Practice L8 (paragraph 32 requires "that risk assessments are reviewed if there is reason to suspect the assessment is no longer valid" this would include when there is reduced usage resulting in low flow/water stagnation as a result of full or partial closure etc.


Who should I contact if I think a business is operating when it should be closed?

If you have any concerns please contact the Food and Safety Team at or by telephoning 023 8028 5230.


Further Guidance

Other advice which may be of use are available:





Updated: 14 May 2020
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