A Covid Secure Checklist for the Catering and Hospitality Trade
As we reach the end of Lockdown Two, and with the festive period fast approaching, many restaurants, cafes and canteens are looking forward to hopefully getting the doors back open and serving customers.
While we still don’t know exactly when all catering and hospitality venues will be allowed to reopen to the public properly, it’s vital that you prepare your business to implement Covid-secure steps and help to keep your community safe from a localised outbreak.
Covid-specific Risk Assessment
As we know, the most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus is through regular cleaning. In any business that sells or prepares food, you should already have rigorous processes and standards in place to maintain good personal hygiene, but there are other aspects to consider now. This includes regular hand washing rules, clean clothing rules, only coming to work if you are fit and well enough, and wearing the correct appropriate PPE, such as a mask.
You may also want to consider updating your Sickness and Pay policy to encourage staff to self-isolate when required. If you do not pay your staff sick pay, they may be more inclined to break the rules and come to work when they are unwell or have been told to isolate, thereby increasing the risk to your staff, customers and your business.
Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, food hygiene standards have not actually changed all that much. Serving hygienic, safe to eat food has always been a necessity, but now, it’s even more important to ensure you are sticking to the rules and your customers are likely to be more interested in how you ensure their food is safe to eat.
It’s vital to continually assess your food hygiene procedures and update them where necessary, creating robust Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans. If you’ve had to change your menu, or suppliers, ensure all new ingredients, meals, processes and supplies are assessed and included on the plan.
Increased Cleaning Rotas
Introduce a new cleaning schedule to ensure all areas of your restaurant are thoroughly and regularly cleaned, including all contact points (handles, taps, chairs, etc.). Include your staff; ask them which areas they think present most risk as they will have a different perception to you from the shop floor.
For example, if your staff feel the menus are too difficult to keep clean, consider the introduction of disposable paper menus for each customer.
Remember to consider how to hygienically restart your appliances and systems after a prolonged shutdown.
Social Distancing Measures
If your restaurant or cafe is reopening before Christmas, you will need to ensure strict social distancing measures are in place. The use of masks, screens, one way systems, and contactless ordering, payments and even serving systems should be considered where possible.
You’ll need to allow extra space between tables and extra time between booking to account for cleaning.
In areas where your staff are working where there is limited space, such as in kitchens and behind bars, social distancing measures will be difficult. Try to encourage staff to work side by side (rather than face to face) and stick to one designated workstation or area.