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Coronavirus: a helping hand for businesses

This page contains information for Westminster businesses as the city begins to reopen.

Published on: 15 January 2021

Last updated: 16 May 2021

Licensing and food guidance

From 17 May, under Step 3 of the government's roadmap out of lockdown, both indoor and outdoor hospitality venues can reopen.

Take-away service

If you are intending to operate as a takeaway then you are required to notify the council that you are operating but do not need prior approval. Operators may also have to notify their landlords to operate in this way, depending upon their lease arrangements. When the takeaway use stops (on or before 23 March 2022) the land and buildings return to their former lawful use. This timeframe was extended for a further year by the Government in November 2020.

See the full details of the announcement

We have also issued an additional advice for business converting to takeaway use below.

Document

Hospitality businesses

We have issued additional below.

Advice for the hospitality sector on outdoor dining

This guidance document seeks to provide information and guidance to businesses within the hospitality sector. It should not be read in isolation and businesses are encouraged to continue to take note of government’s, other agencies’ and industry associations’ advice.

This guidance consolidates a number of documents that were produced prior to the opening of the hospitality sector. It has also been updated to reflect the new Business and Planning Act 2020 which relaxed the provision of off-sales in alcohol licensed premises for the purposes of outside service and introduced a new fast-track Pavement Licensing regime

Food businesses 

The Food Standards Agency has guidance for food businesses looking to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sector guidance has been provided to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely in the food sector. 

Further guidance has also been produced to assist Food Business Operators when a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the workplace results in a requirement to cease operations.

Food and Health and Safety: food business reopening advice  

Ventilation and air conditioning in food establishments during the Covid-19 pandemic 

After having been closed for a period of time it is important to ensure that your ventilation system is in good working order.  

Ventilation can be used as a control measure to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Tiny airborne particles can travel further than droplets and in poorly ventilated spaces this can lead to viral particles spreading between people. Good ventilation can reduce this risk. 

Good ventilation can be different for areas depending on how many people are in there, how the space is being used, and the particular layout of the area. You will need to consider the particular ventilation requirements in the area you are considering. You may need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels. 

Read advice on air conditioning and ventilation from HSE 

Safety of ventilation system after period of closure 

Dust and grease may have built up on fans which can overload them and cause a fire risk. 

Before reopening you will need to carry out the following:  

  • check all filters (grease filters and input air filters) are clean, if not clean them thoroughly. Filters may also be changed if necessary. If they require to be changed it is recommended that you use the services of a professional ventilation cleaning and maintenance company 
  • if extract duct cleaning has not been carried out during the lockdown then this should be carried out before the ventilation system is used. It is recommended that you use the services of a professional ventilation cleaning and maintenance company. 
  • if the system is clean, switch on and check that the fans are working correctly. 
  • to minimise the chance of drawing air from the dining room which may contain viruses, where possible open windows in the kitchen to provide the remainder of the replacement air 

Safety of fryers after a period of closure 

Check that the fryer is clean. If the oil has been sat idle drain the oil, clean and then refill with oil. Heat the oil and carefully check this with a suitable thermometer to check that the thermostat is working correctly. 

Safety of Water Systems: Legionella 

Similar to your ventilation system, if your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires' disease.  

You should review your risk assessment and manage the legionella risks when you: 

Please refer to the HSE website to find more information

Food and Beverage sector specific information and support

Please take a minute or two to complete this very short survey to help inform us of the support we should be making available to you as a Westminster ‘Food & Beverage’ business.

Complete the survey

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