A significant number of members got in contact this week regarding concerns the government was about to ban the collection of takeaways as part of measures to overcome crowding at click and collect sites.
The Scottish Government’s additional restrictions on takeaways were widely publicised as a ban on takeaways and click and collect, however, in reality, the restriction was on customers entering takeaways to order or wait for food. Takeaways in Scotland can still operate by serving through a hatch or the front door.
When the new restrictions were spoken about in Scotland, south of the border became extremely concerned. We were reassured by a Government spokesperson that this was not currently being discussed in England, with the caveat that things can change quite quickly depending on circumstances.
NCASS were very clear regarding the potential consequences for our members if a ban were to be introduced, for those that are still trading it could be catastrophic. However, Scotland has only banned entering takeaways not buying from them. Even if England followed the Scottish rule, you can’t walk straight into a gazebo or a van / trailer, and as such, it wouldn’t make sense for it to apply to mobile food businesses.
You will have seen that we reported earlier this week on the additional restrictions businesses in Scotland face and although there were fears around a total ban, businesses were relieved to hear that working from a door way or hatch is allowed and so takeaways and click and collect would not be affected.
We do not believe a ban on takeaways is currently on the cards in Scotland or a move to create additional restrictions on operating in England, Wales or Northern Ireland (who were first to apply the strictest rules in Dec) in addition to what is in place currently.
It order to show that we are operating safely, we strongly advise members to ensure queuing or collections are managed effectively. While businesses may be able to trade legally offering takeaway or click and collect, we have still had reports of businesses being sanctioned or asked to close by local authorities, therefore it is key to show that you are able to put the controls in place to manage queuing.
Creating a collection time with an online order will allow you to space out customers evenly, reducing pressure on the kitchen and keeping the need for queues to a minimum. Local Authorities, enforcement officers and the police are responding to significantly firmer messaging from government in response to the deadly third wave.
Rest assured, we have made very strong representations to government on the damage that any further restrictions would have on our industry while continuing to lobby for financial support for our sector
If you have any questions or would like any advice, please get in touch via [email protected].