It is unusual for food businesses to be closed for a prolonged period of time. There are many important safety considerations for operators to consider before they re-open their businesses.

Food Safety Management Systems

Cleaning and Hygiene

  • Carry out a full deep clean and disinfection of the premises and all equipment using appropriate cleaning products
  • Check that you have enough cleaning products (handwash, sanitiser, paper towel etc)
  • Check that you have hot water from your taps, you cannot open if staff cannot wash their hands in warm water
  • Follow the governments advice on cleaning of non-healthcare settings

Food Safety

  • Switch on fridges and/or freezers a few days before opening to make sure they are still working and to allow them to get to the correct working temperature (have a thermometer handy)
  • Check the date of all stock, make sure no food has past its 'Use by Date'.
  • Label food items once they are taken out of the freezer with a date of defrost, defrosted in the fridge under temperature control and used within 24 hrs of defrost. Safe Method: Defrosting.

Social Distancing

You should follow the governments guidance: Restaurants Offering Takeaway or Delivery

Other Health and Safety Considerations

For detailed safety guidance visit our advice for Employers and Employees page.

  • Carry out risk assessments, review existing risk assessments and put into place control measures to keep people safe

  • Carry out any essential or necessary works, maintenance and testing. If using contractors, ensure they are safe when working in your premises - both contractor and businesses must work together to communicate any concerns and control measures to each other
  • Make sure you have a hygienic water supply - whilst the building is closed, it is better to let water run through taps/showers etc regularly to reduce the risk of legionella and other bacteria building up in the water system. If this has not been done, have the water system tested first
  • Identify all equipment and installations that may have missed their planned preventative maintenance, inspection, test or thorough examination. Make sure they are maintained, tested, inspected, examined by a competent person before being put back into use.

Examples include:

  • pressure systems
  • lifts and lifting equipment
  • gas installations and equipment
  • electrical equipment and installations
  • extraction systems
  • ventilation systems vehicles
  • manual handling equipment
  • metal detecting equipment
  • guarding
  • security equipment 

Using a Checklist

Before re-opening your business you must ensure your staff and customers are safe.

A good way to ensure you don't miss anything is to use a checklist. You can either create your own checklist or downalod the PDF checklist created by the Institute of Food Science or Technology.

For further help and advice please contact us on 01772 906907 or via email on