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Coronavirus - Business closures and advice for takeaways

To help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus the government has introduced new legislation, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 requiring certain types of premises to close or to stop the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises.

The following businesses must remain closed:

  • Cinemas.
  • Theatres.
  • Nightclubs.
  • Bingo halls.
  • Concert halls.
  • Museums and galleries.
  • Casinos.
  • Betting shops.
  • Spas.
  • Massage parlours.
  • Indoor skating rinks.
  • Indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres.

You cannot sell food or drink for consumption within a premise:

The following businesses are now required not to sell food or drink for consumption on the premises:

  • Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members clubs.
  • Cafes, including workplace canteens, but not including-
  • Cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school;
  • prison and military canteens;
  • services providing food or drink to the homeless.
  • Bars, including bars in hotels or members' clubs.
  • Public houses.

Takeaway Premises

Takeaway and delivery facilities are, at the current time, permitted to remain open and operational. This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.

We understand that businesses may look to adapt their business and diversify. However, takeaways should still put in place measures to limit the risk of social contact and therefore spreading the virus, such as:

  • Removing any internal or external seating, even for those waiting for their order.
  • Closing off internal areas and having collections being made at the door/window. If people must come inside to collect an order limit it to one person at a time.
  • Introducing an order or ticketing system that's primary aim is to STOP people congregating whilst waiting for their order.
  • Ensuring there is time allocated to staff to maintain good hygiene standards and to clean and disinfect hand contact and food preparation surfaces.
  • Display signage inside and out, explaining to people how they can collect their order and that a 2 metre gap should be maintained between themselves and others etc.

The government have stated that they are reviewing planning regulations to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect.

Advice on food safety for those food businesses changing to providing a takeaway service can be found at online or, if you have a specific question, by emailing publicprotection@dover.gov.uk.

Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not sell alcoholic beverages unless their current licence permits this.

What happens if a business breaks the law?

A business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence and be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially prosecution and an unlimited fine. Businesses that fail to comply could also face the loss of their alcohol licence.

If you are aware of a premises that you think is either still open when it shouldn't be or is providing food or drink to be consumed on the premises please contact Environmental Health at publicprotection@dover.gov.uk.    


This advice is intended for established businesses changing their operation to takeaways - new businesses should not operate unless food registered and inspected (further advice on starting a food business and registering as a food business are also available on our website).  

In addition to the safe methods you should already have in place you need to think through additional controls for collection /delivery and infection control to ensure your food handlers and customers stay safe from infection and your food is safe to eat.  

Preparation and packaging 

  • All food must be protected against contamination and safe for customers 

  • High risk ready to eat (RTE) foods must be kept covered using lidded containers, cellophane/aluminium foil tightly wrapped over the plate/bowl of food. Only use food grade disposable containers. 

  • Raw foods, if any, must be completely segregated from RTE foods 

  • Vehicles and containers used for deliveries must be maintained in good condition and clean 

  • If packaged foods are delivered in outer containers (insulated boxes/trays/boxes etc) these must be cleaned and disinfected between deliveries. 

  • Hot foods must be checked to ensure they reach safe temperatures on cooking/reheating (above 75 oC) and be hot (above 63 oC) at time of dispatch. Such foods should ideally be delivered in insulated containers to maintain temperatures and should reach the customer as soon as possible to ensure the food is still hot on arrival.   

  • Any returned containers must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to re-use. Upon collection such returned items should be placed in a dedicated tray/box for transport back to the business premises.   

Guidance for food handlers making deliveries or dealing with collections   

  • Food handlers must practice the highest standards of personal hygiene at all times. 

  • After each delivery hands must be sanitised on return to the vehicle and thoroughly cleaned on return to the business premises. 

  • Do not enter customers' properties and keep as far away as possible when handing over the food - ideally knock, place on doorstep and step back leaving the customer to pick up. 

  • If at all possible, payment should be collected over the phone, contactless card or via internet ordering.  

Allergen information 

If food is sold at a distance (e.g. internet sales or home delivery), the allergen information must be provided: 

  • before the purchase of the food is complete (this could be in writing or verbally) 

  • in a written format when the food is delivered. 

Additional information on allergens can be accessed through the FSA. 

Infection control  

You must make sure 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. 

Food handlers and delivery teams must be given clear instructions on any infection controls. The Government has issued the following guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in restaurants offering takeaway or delivery.