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Introduction & Social Distancing

Introduction

Before re-opening, restaurants will need to review how they work and employ new practices and procedures, businesses of all types need to adapt their operations, review employee practices and consider the design of their business to ensure physical distancing and the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses must ensure that they have dedicated personnel to implement and operate a robust system that prevents the spread of COVID-19. Equally importantly, businesses need to put processes in place that can deal with individual and multiple cases of the disease that may occur.

This document is intended to help operators of commercial kitchens determine what actions they can take to minimise risk to staff, customers and suppliers from the COVID-19 virus. It provides suggestions for each area of the kitchen operation. It is intended to be read in conjunction with Government guidance which is regularly updated at https://www.gov.uk/workingsafely

ceda have also produced a Guidance Document Number 32 which relates to re-commissioning a kitchen that has been mothballed. This is available from any ceda member (go to “Find a member” at https://ceda.co.uk/ )

This is a live document that will evolve in time as the guidance changes, taking into account any
changes to the restrictions or physical distancing. While we have attempted to cover all relevant issues, you must bear in mind that this is a non-exhaustive document and it may not cover all situations you may encounter. As circumstances change, any procedures you implement must be monitored to ensure they remain up-to-date and in line with best practice and the Government’s Public Health Guidance.

We advise all businesses to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment in conjunction with members of their your staff and share the finalised assessment and control measures with all staff and ensure that they are trained on any new or changed procedures. Keep a record of all training.
Appoint and train one person on every shift/team as COVID-19 coordinator to ensure that all procedures are being followed. The coordinators should have a structured framework to follow within the organisation to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus. Employers should have regular and meaningful engagement with their worker representatives, about the measures being put in place to address the occupational exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
Review your risk assessment and control measures regularly and if necessary, revise them and train your staff on the changes again keeping a record of the training.

Consult your local Environmental Health Officer to discuss your proposals.

We encourage all businesses to create an Action Plan, this will help to clarify what is required to overcome the threat of COVID-19 and give your employees and guests confidence that they are safe.
In developing one, the first step that the restaurant’s management must take is to familiarise themselves with the latest guidelines from the following sources:

■ U.K Government Departments
■ Food Standards Agency (FSA)
■ Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
■ World Health Organisation (WHO).

Information from these sources will help to shape your plan of action. You must also review all standard operating procedures (SOPs) to define and note what you are changing. A number of activities will require review e.g. workflows, operations, etc.
The action plan must reassure employees and customers that safeguarding their health and safety is of the utmost importance. It will also assist in ensuring that your operations continue to run in an appropriate manner. You must review the plan regularly and amend it as new regulations, guidelines and procedures come into force. Experience will also tell you how appropriate and effective the original plan is.

Create a communication plan to inform employees and visitors of what you are changing, what you need them to do and how you expect everyone to act and behave.

Social distancing

The UK Government has issued revised guidance for social distancing which recommends that people should maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between each other except for members of the same household and where possible still maintain a 2 metre distance. At the time of writing this only applies to England and this document will be updated as and when the devolved governments publish their own guidance. Detailed guidance will be published shortly at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/workingsafely

This will impact on several aspects of your operation.
Dining room capacity will inevitably be reduced as the 1+ metre spacing between tables is created.

Kitchen capacity will also be reduced as staff will need to maintain the same 1+ metre distancing wherever and whenever possible (refer to government guidance) which will probably mean fewer staff can work at any one time. Consider working with two or more teams of staff keeping the same people in each team. Consider marking floors to show 1 metre distances and indicating one-way flow systems.

It is possible that your suppliers and their supply chain will also be affected by social distancing and other factors such as restricted imports and therefore may only be able to supply a limited range of products.

Look at all your options and make a business case on the basis of:
• Lower seating capacity
• Fewer customers
• Less staff
• Limited menu

Consider using new technology systems to minimise face to face contact.

Hygiene Cleaning & PPE

Hygiene and cleaning

Government advice can be found at https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/reopening-checklist-for-food-businesses-during-covid-19-form.pdf

Cleaning products and protocols must be suitable, and manufacturer approved for use against viruses, bacteria and similar risks. It’s important to follow manufacturer instructions with regard to dilution, application and duration of use.

Restaurants must review cleaning procedures within all departments and update these if any cleaning products are changed.

It is advised that the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting be increased in all public spaces. Particular attention must be paid to frequently touched surfaces which must be visibly clean at all times. These include counters, door handles, public bathrooms, stair handrails, dining surfaces and seating areas.

Back of House areas must be cleaned and disinfected as regularly as possible. Particular attention must be paid to employee areas including the canteen, employee entrances, employee toilet facilities, uniform control rooms, loading areas, offices and kitchens.

Clean and disinfect shared equipment and tools before, during and after each shift or anytime the equipment is transferred to another employee. This includes items such as phones, computers and other communication devices, keys, payment terminals, kitchen implements, tools, safety buttons, cleaning equipment, time clocks and all other direct contact items used.

Shared food and beverage equipment in Back of House areas (e.g. kettle, microwave, etc.) need to be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Increase the frequency of cleaning regimes. Consider sanitising all shared surfaces regularly and at least twice a day. Consider increasing the frequency of deep cleaning.

Ensure staff wash their hands more regularly.
Consider using taps with automatic sensors or provide paper towels for hand drying and turning off taps.

Provide hand sanitising gel and sanitising wipes in every area of the kitchen. Consider using contactless dispensers for sanitising gel.

Guests are very sensitive to hygiene and anything that even looks messy will translate to unclean in their minds, so everyone’s uniforms, hair, nails, any surfaces guests can see all needs to be tidy and spotless.

Consider using a contactless thermometer to check staff temperatures before every shift.

Consider wedging doors open (excluding fire doors) to reduce the need to touch door handles etc.

Personal Protection Equipment

Government guidance on face coverings are changing so check their current recommendations at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

Wherever possible PPE should be disposable such as rubber gloves and plastic aprons for work that does not involve heat. Consider face shields for cooking staff and disposable face masks for other staff and ensure staff are trained on how to fit and use the equipment and wash their hands before and after fitting.

Reusable PPE that is intended to be laundered should be bagged after use and washed as soon as possible in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air. Dispose of the bags that were used to store the dirty PPE.

Other reusable PPE which is not suitable for washing such as shoes should be disinfected after use.

Staff should change into and out of PPE and uniforms on the premises and the numbers of staff using the changing room at one time should be limited to ensure 1+ metre distancing. The changing room should contain hand washing or sanitising facilities.

All table linen must be washed at a high temperature and in accordance with the Government’s Public Health advice. Dirty linen must Be bagged immediately to eliminate excess contact while its transported to the restaurant’s laundry facility

Receiving Deliveries & Storage

Receiving deliveries

Consult your suppliers to discuss and agree delivery procedures to maintain social distancing.

Consider ordering larger quantities to reduce the number of deliveries.

Consider setting up a system that eliminates the need for delivery drivers entering the building. (with the exception of food deliveries which adhere to HACCP delivery protocols). Employees should not come in close contact with drivers. HACCP is in the context of food safety and re-opening only and not for COVID-19 prevention.
Consider asking suppliers to provide a declaration of the health of delivery drivers or checking temperatures of delivery staff.

Consider providing suppliers with a direct telephone number to the person responsible for receiving deliveries and asking suppliers to brief their drivers to phone when they arrive to summon the member of staff to the door. This could also be displayed in a notice at the point of delivery.

Ideally deliveries should only be made before opening. However, if the restaurant is open, delivery drivers must not enter through public areas and drivers must not come in close contact with guests.

Consider providing a “receiving” area or table for the driver to place his delivery on. HACCP procedures must be strictly implemented and observed there at all times. HACCP based procedures are required for food safety and not for the prevention of COVID-19
Drivers must comply with HACCP procedures and ensure that all transport containers delivering food products are kept clean and frequently disinfected.

Ask your suppliers to minimise the packaging. All packaging should be removed (if possible) and placed in a disposal unit. Consider providing a covered bin/disposal unit for waste packaging.

Consider providing hand washing facilities or hand sanitising gel for use by the delivery driver and your staff.

Consider asking the supplier to use disposable containers and packaging, where possible, to avoid the need to clean any returns. In the case of reusable containers, appropriate hygiene and disinfection protocols must be followed by employees.

Consider using one person to deal with all deliveries and brief them to disinfect the “receiving” table every time it has been used.

When signing for deliveries, employees should only use their own pens. In case of electronic devices, both device and pen must be cleaned and disinfected prior to signing.

The delivery area must be cleaned and disinfected regularly

Storage

Consider using the same person who receives and checks deliveries to unpack and place the goods in the stores and refrigeration.

Consider using an air steriliser in storerooms and cold rooms to keep food fresh for longer thus reducing deliveries.

Restrict access to storerooms and cold rooms to one person at a time and ensure that they take everything they need in one visit.

Provide hand sanitising facilities at the entrance/exit of all storerooms and cold rooms.

Preparation Cooking & Service

Preparation

Consider doing all preparation at a time when no other part of the kitchen is being used thus enabling a number of workstations to be used for example the potwash area could be used for washing and preparing vegetables, providing it has been suitable cleaned.

Consider preparing sufficient ingredients for more than one service and vacuum packing them or blast chilling them.

Where it is not possible for two people to work face to face with the recommended 1+ metre space consider rearranging equipment to allow people to work back to back or side by side. Consider using screens if practical to separate staff working where the 1+ metre distance is not possible.

Consider collaborating with other operators who have larger facilities that are still under lockdown, for example stadia or banqueting suites. It may be possible for them to do all your preparation.

Cooking

Consider your existing cooking equipment layout to see how you can create individual workstations to prevent staff having to move around the kitchen. Workstations should provide 1+ metre separation and if this is not possible then consider working back to back or side by side. Face to face working should be avoided unless there is 1+ metre separation.

Consider overnight cooking for some dishes using a combi oven. Consider Cook/Chill/Vacuum pack/Reheat systems to minimise cooking staff during service.
Try to avoid staff having to share equipment and where this is not possible, brief staff to be aware of who else needs to use the item and to try to plan their usage so as to avoid close contact.

Consider rearranging equipment if this will help with social distancing. Note: if you reposition cooking equipment you may have to amend your fire protection system so consult with your supplier.

Provide additional handwashing facilities so that each workstation has easy access.

Where possible try to create ‘One Way’ systems for when staff have to move around the kitchen and provide signage to remind staff. Consider signage and floor markings to remind staff to maintain 2 metres from each other.

Service

Where waiter service is used consider using the chef to plate up the meals for one table on a large tray which can be taken from the pass into the dining room and placed on an empty adjacent table so that the diners can take their own meal.

Another option is for the waiter to load the plates for one table from the pass onto a trolley which can be delivered close to the table and accessed by the diners.

If cafeteria/buffet service is used, consider fitting sneeze screens with serving shelves and using staff to plate the food and place the plates on the shelf for the diner to take and place on to a tray.
Consider suspending plexiglass screens just above the serving shelves and if there is no tray slide consider putting up barriers so that the customer can only reach the serving shelf and therefore maximise the distance between serving staff and diners.

Service counters, screens and shelves should be cleaned and sanitised after every service.

Consider using disposable crockery and cutlery.

Potwash Dishwash Waste & Ventilation

Potwash

Consider if it is possible to store used pans and trays in or adjacent to the cooking workstation until service is finished when they can be collected by the potwash operative.

Clean pans and trays should be stored in or adjacent to the cooking workstation ready for use.
Consider if it is possible to do all the potwashing after service to reduce the number of staff in the kitchen at any one time.

Dishwash

For waiter service operations, consider asking diners to place their soiled ware on a service tray or trolley close to their table where it can be removed to the dishwash area by a waiter. Trays/Trolleys should be cleaned and sanitised before reuse.

For cafeteria or buffet operations consider asking diners to place their tray and soiled ware into a multi-tiered tray clearance trolley which can be removed to the dishwash area by a member of staff.

In the dishwash area ensure there is adequate space to dump trays whilst the soiled ware is scrapped before being loaded into dishwash racks, prewashed and loaded into the dishwasher. If necessary, consider additional table space for dumping.

Trays should be cleaned and sanitised before reuse.

If two or more staff are used in the dishwash area allocate one to dealing with the soiled ware and the others to unload and sort the clean ware whilst maintaining the 1+ metre distance.

Waste disposal

Consult your Waste Haulage supplier to ensure that regular collections are available to prevent the buildup of waste.

Consider storing all recyclable packaging and PPE in bags for at least 72 hours before recycling or placing with other waste.

Consider disinfecting all returnable packaging before it is collected by the supplier.

Ventilation

If your ventilation has not been operating during lockdown, switch it on and leave it running for three or four days before occupying the property. This will ensure that any possible virus in the system is cleared.

Whilst your kitchen ventilation replacement air system brings in fresh air from outside the building, this is less than the volume of air extracted, so as to draw the remainder from other parts of the building. This is to create a slight negative pressure in the kitchen to prevent odours spreading out into the dining room or other areas.

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.

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