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COVID-19 Food Takeaway and Delivery Advice

Food Takeaway and Delivery Advice

Following the introduction of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 all food businesses must cease selling food or drink for consumption on the premises.

If as a food business, you are concerned about the latest Government requirements on restaurants, pubs, cafes etc. staying closed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you may be considering advertising and providing food for delivery or takeaway.

This is fine to do but there are a few additional steps you should consider:

Social Distancing

Retail and public premises which we expect to remain open must: 

  • Ensure a distance of 2 metres (2m) between customers and shop assistants; and
  • Only allow people to enter the shop in small groups; this means for takeaways to ensure social distancing there should be no more than one or two customers allowed in the shop at anyone time to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
  • Queue control is required outside of your premises and you must ensure customers maintain a distance of 2m between each other.

Ordering and delivery

Allergies - If you have a website you should put a clear sign on this stating “Please speak to a member of staff if you have any food allergies”

When customers phone to place an order, you should ask them if they or any of the people eating the food have any allergies. If they do, make a note of their requirements and ensure their food is prepared safely for them then clearly labelled. Any food prepared for allergenic customers should be stored separately for and during delivery. (see separate guidance from The Anaphylaxis Campaign)

Allergic reactions to ingredients can be fatal. Please see the full list of 14 allergens for further information.

Food should be put into food safe containers for delivery.

Try to take payment over the phone to avoid handling cash upon delivery. If you do need to take a cash payment, ask the customer for exact change or consider pricing your dishes to even prices, e.g. £8.00 instead of £8.20 to minimise the need for change, and ask them to put it in an envelope. Ensure your driver has some alcohol gel to clean their hands between customers and ensure they wash their hands thoroughly when they return back to base.

Government advice is to keep a distance (2 metres away) from others. You may want to have a system whereby you leave the food delivery on the step of the house then telephone the customer to let them know, or similar.

Consider the time and distance for delivering and try and keep both to a minimum to maintain food quality. Refer to your food safety management system for safe hot holding and chilled storage times and temperatures.

Vehicles must be fit for purpose and food must not be subjected to potential contamination. Keep the interior of the vehicle clean and do not transport food with animals or chemicals such as fuel, oil and screen wash.

Check your vehicle insurance to ensure you are covered for business use.


As per your normal operation, food should always be prepared hygienically to prevent cross contamination. The Food Standards Agency consider it very unlikely to transmit Coronavirus through food, however extra and vigilant hand hygiene should be employed during food preparation.

You will need to update your food safety management system if any of your normal cooking processes have changed to provide delivered food, e.g. if you now cook – chill – reheat food to make food preparation quicker upon delivery, where before you used to just cook – serve. It’s important to update your procedures on these changes to demonstrate you have considered any risks to food safety. Ensure any staff are made aware of these changes.

For food safety and quality, you want to ensure food is delivered piping hot. You will need to consider how to do this. Insulated cool boxes / bags are a good way to keep the heat in food. Also deliver the food as quickly as possible after preparing.

If you or any of your staff are displaying the symptoms of Coronavirus, you should not prepare food and should be self-isolating.

If you require any further information on any food safety issues please contact us at

Relaxation of planning use

The Government has announced a relaxation of planning rules to assist pubs and restaurants during the Coronavirus pandemic. For the next twelve months premises who were not previously, will now be able to operate as takeaways providing hot food and drink. Further information on relaxing planning rules can be found on the website.

If you wish to do this you must inform our planning team by emailing them at:

You should include the name of your premises, full address, your contact details and the date you intend to start offering takeaways.

Alcohol (Premises) Licence

You can only do take away/delivery of alcohol if your premises licence states “Off-sales” or “both” under “Where the licence authorises the supply of alcohol, whether these are on and/or off supplies”, usually on the first page of the licence summary (part B) or page 2 of part A.

When delivering alcohol always ensure that ID checks are still carried out and that alcohol is not given to anyone under the age of 18.

You can only provide takeaway of hot food and drink until 23:00hrs unless you have “Late Night Refreshment” on your licence, if you are offering late night delivery, payment would then need to be taken over the phone or via an online delivery service portal.

Should you require further clarification on this or wish to make a variation to your premises licence, please contact the Licensing team on 01827 715341 or email them at:

Should you require any more detailed advice on changing your menu or your procedures don’t hesitate to speak to one of our officers by calling 01827 715341.

To keep up to date with the latest government instruction and advice please visit:

Takeaway and Delivery Checklist for Food Businesses
Add to your food safety
management system
As a minimum, complete a SFBB checklist for takeaway food.
The best one is the Chinese restaurant and takeaway
version: - add this to your SFBB file,
and add to your temperature records
Look at your menu Simplify if you can, concentrate on dishes which are low risk,
easy to produce and package for safe delivery.
Look at your packaging Make sure you have enough clean, suitable packaging for
takeaways or deliveries. We’re all trying to cut down on
disposables, however disposable packaging limits the risk of
cross contamination.
Ordering and payment Keep it simple. Online or card payments are easiest. For
customers who want to pay cash, perhaps ask them to put
the right money in an envelope, and round prices up or down
to the nearest pound to help them avoid the need for giving
change. Make sure you get detailed information about any
allergens or other special requirements at the point of
Look at your delivery area or
Keep it manageable so that food remains hot >630C or cold
Delivery containers Use good quality insulated cool boxes or cool bags for both
hot and cold food (not the same one for both!) – your food
supplier may have surplus ones. It’s worth asking.
Delivery vehicles Need to be clean and fit for purpose – make sure food is well
packaged to prevent any contamination from your vehicle,
and keep the interior cool
Delivery personnel Your regular food service staff will be well trained, but if
you’re using volunteers make sure they’re thoroughly briefed
on personal hygiene, fitness to work, and particularly
hand washing. Make sure they have hand sanitiser in the
vehicle, use it between customers and wash their hands
thoroughly before and after a delivery run
Delivery method If you’re going to be delivering to vulnerable customers or
those in isolation work out a method of doing this safely,
perhaps a phone call to say you’ve arrived and will leave the
delivery at the front door ( ensure your packaging will
survive this).,in an agreed safe place, or with a trusted
neighbour. Maintaining the 2m distance.
Allergen management Ensure information on any allergies is asked when taking the
order, and that this information is relayed to those people
preparing the food. Ensure any allergy free meals are
clearly labelled so that it is clear to the recipient.
Speak to Environmental Health When you’ve worked through this list, please call or drop an
email to Environmental health so that they know what you’re
doing and can support and advise you if necessary.
Alcohol Check your license includes off sales if you want to include
alcohol in your takeaway or delivery offer, speak to your
local authority licensing officer.


Last updated Thursday, 15th October 2020

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