COVID-19 Advice for food businesses

Face Coverings regulation has changed. Page last updated
05 March 2021

We understand that businesses need to find different ways to serve their customers through this very difficult period. 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 able to offer a delivery or takeaway service if they are registered as a food business with a local authority.

For the Government's latest guidance on the collection of personal details and how to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to businesses in support of NHS Test and Trace, please go to: Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

Coronavirus: Information poster for takeaways and restaurants offering a pick-up service

We have posters available to help you explain to your customers how you will be operating safely during the coronavirus pandemic. We suggest the poster is displayed near to your customer entrance so they see and read it before entering.

The poster is based on current Government guidance for takeaways and restaurants offering a pick-up service. Download and print the Coronavirus: Information poster for takeaways and restaurants offering a pick-up service

To summarise, the current guidance states:

  • Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services for food and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Sale of alcohol is permitted via pre-order for delivery services only.
  • There are different rules for day and night:
    • 5am to 11pm takeaway services from the premises, but
    • 11pm to 5am takeaway is via delivery or drive through only. When an order is ready a member of staff can deliver the order to a vehicle as long as the occupants of the vehicle do not get out. Businesses should therefore only take orders online or by telephone during this time.
  • Customers could have staggered collection times.
  • After 11pm customers arriving without having already placed an order should place their order by phone or online, and return at a designated time for collection.
  • Businesses should discourage crowding outside the premises. Where possible, use queue management systems to maintain the two metres separation.

Read the full guidance at GOV.UK - COVID-19: guidance for food businesses

Outside eating areas

With the lockdown restrictions possibly easing on 12 April, outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) will be able to reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. Customers are allowed to eat and drink, while seated. Any outside structures used to provide shelter for customers must adhere to the requirements on being less than 50% substantially enclosed (as detailed in the Smoke free Legislation). Being outside in the ‘fresh air’ is the important part of this ease up of the restrictions. This means if a structure has a roof then it must have two ‘walls’ or less in order to comply.

Substantially enclosed: this would be a structure (with a roof/ceiling) with an opening in the walls, where the opening would make up less than half of the area of the total wall space (including other structures that serve the purpose of walls and constitute the perimeter of the premises). Doors and windows are not classed as gaps. If in any doubt about whether your building or structure is enclosed, substantially enclosed, or open enough please see West Suffolk Council's website for further advice.

Face covering regulations have changed. Find out more at GOV.UK - Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own

Please contact us if you have any further queries email: food& or phone: 01284 757400

Additional support for your business from West Suffolk Council

For up to date information on what support is available to your businesses during the coronavirus outbreak then visit our COVID-19 Support for business page.

This page includes links and information about grants, loans, job retention schemes and more. Our Economic Development and Growth team are also on hand to answer your questions. Please email them on