Published 25 March 2020
Closing your food businesses for the foreseeable future is never an easy decision to make. While this is a difficult and stressful time for food businesses, these decisions are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Closing your food businesses for the foreseeable future is never an easy decision to make. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold around the world, governments — particularly in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK — are imposing strict mandates for food business operations. These mandates are forcing many food businesses to switch to take-out or delivery only, or to temporarily stop operating. While this is a difficult and stressful time for food businesses, these decisions are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19, is extremely contagious. It can easily jump from human to human through direct contact or by contacting infected droplets from a person’s cough or sneeze. In order to make it more difficult for the coronavirus to spread, governments have imposed restrictions on places where large gatherings take place, including restaurants, bars, pubs and fast food chains. Most food businesses are required to reduce capacity to 50% or less, or close their physical premises completely and only offer take-out or delivery services. The hope is that these changes will reduce the public’s ability to gather in large groups and put a stop to the spread of the coronavirus.
Many food businesses are already poised to switch to a take-out or home delivery service only, but this is not attainable for everyone. Some food businesses simply do not have the finances, the time or the means to make the jump to providing take-out or delivery. For some high-end restaurants this can be particularly difficult as the dishes on the menu are created to be visually stunning and as a result, do not translate to a take-out or delivery method well.
In these cases, food businesses must shut down completely for the time being. While it is not ideal, this process must be accepted and implemented properly in order to ensure that the food business will survive the closure and be ready to re-open when the time comes.
Some of the most important things to consider before closing are:
1. Make a plan for your food
Many businesses have food in stock that needs to be disposed of or managed during business closure. Take inventory of your food items and make proper decisions based on if they are prepared/cooked, ready-to-eat, frozen, refrigerated or dried goods.
2. Communicate with your team
All of your staff are probably concerned about the state of the food business and what will happen to their jobs during the shutdown. Be sure to communicate whether they are being laid off, stood down, moved to part-time or keeping their jobs.
3. Check your security measures
Now is the time to make sure the security measures you have in place are working properly. You will not be on the premises as often as you usually are, so ensuring your premises has proper security is essential to keeping everything within the establishment safe.
4. Contact your suppliers
Speak with your suppliers to ensure that regular deliveries are cancelled and advise them of your upcoming closure. It is also important to discuss payment deferrals or how your suppliers plan on dealing with the suspension of orders.
These are just some of the things you need to consider before closing your business premises. As a member of the food industry, it is your job to uphold food safety standards to keep customers safe. By following government instruction and closing temporarily, you are doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect your community as a whole.