On Wednesday (13 January) the First Minister announced further measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and limit non-essential contact will be introduced this weekend.
From Saturday 16 January 2021 in level four lockdown areas, businesses primarily concerned with the service of food and drink takeaways can only offer the service on a no-indoor entry basis.
This means that customers are not permitted to enter the inside of a premises to collect their purchase and that goods will need to be dispensed in a manner that meets this requirement. For example, this could be via the use of a service hatch, a non-internal counter such as a table across the threshold or passed through a door.
This measure is necessary to reduce the risk associated with people gathering in enclosed spaces (indoors) where the virus may spread more easily from person to person.
Guidance has now been updated to give further clarity on what this means for your business should you provide this service. Scottish Government guidance: Takeaways – no indoor entry.
Who does it apply to?
The measure applies to those businesses in the hospitality and food and drink sector that are primarily operating a food and drink takeaway service.
That means where food and drink takeaway forms the main part of the business and is not incidental to the wider business operation. This includes:
- pubs and bars that have adapted to offer takeaway food and drink
- restaurants that have either adapted or as part of normal operating models offer takeaway food and drink
- cafes (existing exclusions apply i.e. in a hospital or care home)
- sandwich shops
- mainstream takeaway businesses, such as burger and chicken food to go premises, chip shops, International cuisine, pizza and kebab shops
- bakery and pasty shops that are predominantly focused on the sale of hot food and drink or sandwiches to go rather than providing a wider range of products as the main part of the business
- all other food and drink to go premises that are predominantly concerned with takeaway food and drink as the main part of the business
What you need to do
Many takeaway businesses already operate on a no-indoor entry basis. For those, no changes are required. For others, the practical modifications required by each business will vary by each operating environment.
Not all premises will have a service hatch but every premises will have an entrance, either a door or shuttered threshold. It is for operators to determine the most appropriate method to allow them to meet the restriction.
For further information read the Scottish Government guidance: Takeaways – no indoor entry. This includes information on examples of practical changes you could make, the use of face coverings and screens and queuing.
The frequently asked questions have been updated to cover takeaways - no indoor entry.
Question: For delivery services from premises offering a takeaway, can the delivery staff still enter the premises?
Answer: Yes. For these purposes delivery staff are not going to the premise for the purchase of takeaway food so they are allowed to enter the premises, ensuring they are wearing their face covering when doing so. The purpose behind these measures is to reduce the need for consumers to go to premises and delivery achieves that.
Question: I am a brewer and run my retail arm through off sales, can I continue with sales by click and collect and “walk bys”.
Answer: Yes. You can still offer your service as before but subject to not allowing patrons inside your premises. Patrons should not consume alcohol purchased in public, purchases should be taken home.
Question: As a hospitality business I am offering takeaways, including alcohol, does the public drinking ban affect me in anyway?
Answer: No. You can still offer your service as before. You may be able to adapt outside space to assist with safe service and queuing. As per guidance however, you should be alert to any gatherings forming in the vicinity of your premises following an off-sale where purchases are being consumed outdoors in public. This will attract the attention of the authorities and other concerned members of the public. You should ensure staff are aware to look out for such behaviour, which is illegal.
Question: I run a family bakery that offers hot food to takeaway alongside all other products – does this mean I must now only serve customers who are outside?
Answer: Bakers, butcher shops, convenience stores, newsagents and stand-alone service stations where any ready food and drink to go offering is incidental to the primary range of products on sale, such as breads, cold pies, pastries, meat and general groceries or fuel, may continue to operate under existing COVID safe protocols, ensuring key mitigating measures and physical distancing are fully observed by all entering the premises. If it is apparent the main activity is a ready food or drink takeaway service then this must be offered on a no-entry basis only.
Question: My bakery is busy first thing in the morning with “on the go” breakfasts, though my main business is still for traditional bakery fare. Do I need to close my door?
Answer: As before, if when looked at in the round your business is principally a bakery rather than a takeaway, the restrictions do not apply.
Question: Can I – a baker/corner shop – serve just a takeaway coffee to a customer if that is all they want?
Answer: Yes. Whether you are principally providing a takeaway service is not judged on the basis of an individual customer or transaction.
Question: What about food and drink to go businesses that operate from shopping malls or larger service stations that are arguably already indoors?
Answer: The measure applies to the individual premises, or in the case of a mall or service station the units within the precinct. Customers will therefore still not be permitted to enter the premises, or unit, to collect a takeaway purchase and the service must be on a no-entry basis.
Question: How does the no-entry measure apply to supermarket cafes that may be offering a takeaway service while currently closed for sit-in service?
Answer: Supermarkets can continue to offer a takeaway service from cafes. They should however revisit their risk assessments on queuing and service points based on their specific layout. Many supermarket cafes will have entry points that border the main exit thoroughfare from check-out areas. It would therefore not be appropriate to allow queues to develop at the very point where there is likely to be an increased flow of customers. Service points should therefore be situated in a place that avoids this scenario and where necessary the available space used within the closed sit-in area to manage queues in a safe and physically distanced manner.
Question: How does the no-entry measure apply to stand alone service stations that offer some food to go?
Answer: As takeaway food and drink is not the primary part of the business these services can be offered as they are at present, with existing mitigating measures in place.