To help reinforce social distancing all non-essential shops and community spaces were closed on Thursday 26 March. The food and drink sector was included in this, however there are some exemptions, which include produce deliveries, food retailers and takeaway and/or delivery services. The business closure list can be found online.
Local produce deliveries and food retailers
It may take a little longer to do your food shopping at the moment, but local producers are showcasing their resilience as they quickly adapt existing business models to offer home deliveries to residents Island-wide in response to the current crisis presented by COVID-19.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture has created a space to centralise links to businesses offering Manx produce for home delivery. This site also hosts a downloadable PDF with contact numbers for those without access to the internet to place orders.
An online list of local food retailers opening hours can also be accessed via: https://www.iomfoodanddrink.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Food-Outlets-1.pdf
Key workers and vulnerable groups
Many of the Island’s essential food retail premises are operating special opening hours allowing senior citizens, vulnerable customers, and key workers including NHS, emergency and care workers, to undertake their shopping before the general public.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture has created a page to centralise these dedicated opening hours.
For those who are struggling to leave the house, are vulnerable or encountering financial difficulties, there are a number of local charities that are offering additional help during this difficult time.
The Isle of Man Food Bank is providing emergency food parcels which they can provide locally or via a drive through service.
See also: Charities that can help
Takeaways and/or delivery services
A number of food and drink operators have had to adapt their services as a result of COVID-19, and are now offering takeaway and delivery services across the Island. We would recommend you visit a provider’s website or social media page directly to see if they are offering takeaway or delivery services.
There are also a number of websites available that provide further information on which providers are offering these services:
Many providers are also offering collection of food and takeaway services on premise. People can continue to enter premises to access these services, including delivery drivers. However, no orders should be taken in person on the premises. Businesses should take orders online or by telephone, and should not provide seating areas, indoors and outdoors, for customers to consume food and drink on or wait.
Ordering in advance is strongly encouraged to avoid waiting, and whilst waiting people must maintain a 2 metre distance from others.
For takeaway and delivery service providers:
The advice below is for existing food businesses. If you are thinking of starting a food business, the advice still applies, but you must also register by completing the form at www.gov.im/categories/business-and-industries/food-business-register/ and we will contact you to discuss your proposal.
Can I provide a takeaway and/or a delivery service from my existing, registered food business?
Yes, pubs, clubs restaurants, bars and cafés to ‘dine-in’ customers, can provide a takeaway service and/or phone or online food delivery service from the venue, where they are equipped to do so.
No food or drink can be consumed by customers on any premises. Customers are also not permitted to sit and consume food at outside seating areas, within the curtilage or under the responsibility of the food business.
If you are offering a takeaway service from an existing pub, café or restaurant you must take measures to ensure that customers do not gather inside your premises. Wherever possible, orders should be handed over at the entrance to the premises (in some cases businesses are handing over orders to customers in their vehicles outside the premises) and if you are asking customers to queue, you should put controls in place to ensure that a physical distance of at least 2 metres is maintained between each customer.
It is very important that you think about the way that food is provided and take appropriate precautions to ensure that the food that you supply is safe. As a food business operator you still have a legal responsibility to provide safe food and you must comply with current food hygiene law.
Will I need planning permission for my food delivery/takeaway service?
If you are an existing registered food business and you wish to extend your service during the current Coronavirus restrictions to provide takeaways and/or deliveries please contact email@example.com and entitle you enquiry at ‘Hot and Cold Food Takeaway-Deliveries’.
You should give details of your current business, including its address, and what you intend to do. The Department will be considering flexible arrangements for a short term period to allow businesses to keep operating and to meet the communities’ needs.
How do I deliver food safely?
Food must be prepared under normal hygienic conditions following usual food safety procedures such as Safer Food Better Business or your own specific food safety system, which may need to be reviewed to take into account changes to normal operations.
- Place food in new single use sealed containers.
- Temperature control must be maintained. Hot or cool boxes/bags should be utilised to ensure that the temperature does not drop below 63°C or above 5°C, as appropriate.
- Hot/Cool boxes or bags should be thoroughly disinfected between each use.
- Food and packaging should be protected from contamination at all times.
- Vehicle interiors must be kept clean and where possible disinfected on a regular basis including hand contact surfaces such as the steering wheel and gear stick.
What do I have to tell my customers about allergens?
Items should be labelled/marked in order that the customer can identify what is in each container. This is particularly important with regards to allergens.
When taking the order, staff must ask the question as to whether they need to be aware of any allergies/intolerances. Dishes should then be clearly labelled and allergens highlighted.
You should consider offering a limited menu for home delivery which can be published and provide details online or over the phone about allergens. A limited menu allows management of the control of allergens more effectively.
How can I minimise the risk of coronavirus spread with customer collections and when delivering food?
In the interests of preventing the spread of infection, delivery drivers could wear disposable gloves. Changing them between each customer delivery and also utilising sanitiser/wipes in the absence of hand washing. Delivery drivers should not be entering customer’s premises and payment should be made online or over the phone in order to avoid the handling of cash.
Cleaning and sanitising customer areas should be stepped up, with particular emphasis on hand contact surfaces.
How can I minimise the risk of coronavirus spread within my retail premises?
Retail premises play an essential role in getting our Island through this crisis and the following guidance should be followed to minimise the risk of spreading infection:
- Clear signage should be in place around the store to encourage social distancing and good hygiene practices.
- Checkouts, shop floors and entrances should be marked with tape to define 2 metre safe distancing.
- Awareness of symptoms and personal hygiene measures should be reinforced with staff.
- Ensure staff have access to suitable hand washing facilities. Hands should be washed as often as possible for a minimum of 20 seconds with hot water and soap.
- Sanitiser should be available for staff to use between hand washing and consideration should be given to asking customers to sanitise hands as they enter the store.
- Surfaces and touch points should be regularly disinfected, particularly trolley and basket handles, counters, door handles, card machines, tills etc. Where possible trolley and basket handles should be disinfected after each use.
- Where possible staff should wear disposable gloves, however these should be changed between each customer in order to minimise the spread of infection.
- Where necessary (e.g. particularly within smaller stores) the number of customers allowed in the store at any one time could be limited to allow for safe distancing to be effective.
- Wherever possible contactless payment methods should be used. If staff do handle cash it is important that they then wash their hands before serving the next customer.
How can I minimise the risk of coronavirus spread in my workplace?
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.
You can help prevent the spread of coronavirus by following the hygiene and handwashing guidance.
If an employee shows flu-like symptoms they must be excluded from work and follow the self-isolation guidance.
What measures do I take within my business premises if I have a staff member who has been advised to self-isolate, but has not been confirmed to have COVID-19?
Reasons for self-isolation where there is a risk of COVID-19 infection include: a person who has returned, a person who has symptoms that may be COVID-19 and is waiting for a test, a person who is a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and has been advised by the Public Health Contact Tracing Team to self-isolate.
Provided good infection control and social distancing has been conducted in the work place the risk should be low. If there is specific work equipment and work stations used by the person then they must be cleaned and disinfected. Strict food safety standards and infection control procedures must be followed throughout.
Someone may also be self-isolating because they have a health condition and as such are in a vulnerable group category. People in this group are self-isolating to shield themselves from the virus. They are not at risk of spreading the virus to other people. If you have a staff member in this group, they should not be working on premise. There are no additional hygiene/infection controls needed for your premises.
What measures do I take within my business premises if I have a staff member who has been confirmed as having COVID-19?
If your staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, a member of the Public Health team will interview the affected person and identify people they have had contact with during the period they could have been passing on COVID-19. This will include anyone they were in contact with in the workplace. The Public Health Contact Tracing Team will be in touch with you to advise if there are any actions for you as an employer or in respect of your premises.
If you require further advice contact Environmental Health at firstname.lastname@example.org
See also: Guidance for Food Businesses