At Food Alert our free advice line has been a hot line for hospitality operators during the pandemic.

And as the economy opens up with more and more venues once again welcoming customers through their doors, the number of calls we have received has reached a peak as our clients seek for clarity on government advice.

So, we thought it would be helpful to share with you the top five burning questions operators are asking and the advice from our team of experts:

1. How does test and trace work?

  • The opening up of the economy is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of staff shift patterns and the name of customers for 21 days
  • If there is more than one person, you can record the name of the ‘group lead’ and note the number of people in the party
  • You will need a contact number and note date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure
  • After 21 days the information should be securely disposed of (shredded) or permanently deleted

2. Do I have to refuse someone entry if they don’t wish to give contact details?

The short answer is no. However, you must demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to obtain their contact details, such as via a pre-booking app, on the door or at their table

3. Is there a limit of 30 people in the bar at any one time?

There is no limit on numbers. However, you must allow for social distancing of at least 2m or 1m+ apart

4. Do I have to close the business if there is a case or someone has symptoms?

  • No, not unless you are advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
  • If a member of staff develops symptoms of Covid-19, then they should be sent home and follow the ‘self-isolation guidance’ and seek a test for Covid-19.
  • If a member of staff has helped someone who has developed symptoms of Covid-19, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms.

5. How do I clean after a case?

All surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected including:

  • Objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids.
  • All potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells.
  • We recommend using disposable cloths, mop heads or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces with disinfectant that is effective against enveloped viruses.
  • For soft furnishings, steam cleaning should be used.

To learn more about how Food Alert can help you operate a Covid-19 safe venue and its certification scheme covering documentation, people, premises and physical distancing, cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) contact us on

Planet Organic’s food services director, Caroline Ottoy, said: “Food Alert’s certification scheme has been well received, not only by our 450 employees who know we have done everything we can to make their workplace as safe as possible, but also by our customers who are confident that we are delivering the highest standards possible.”




Covid-19, Food Safety, Health & Safety


Food Alert