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    Q998: Can my business sell food and drink during the Coronavirus emergency?

    Food can continue to be sold but it must be sold for consumption off the premises, i.e. as a take away . Orders should be made in advance where possible and on line or over the telephone to avoid people waiting in the premises.

    However, for public safety, during the 'emergency period', the following businesses must close and / or cease selling food / drink for consumption for consumption on its premises:

    Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members' clubs.

    · Cafes, including workplace canteens (subject to sub-paragraph (2)), but NOT including –

      • cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school;
      • canteens at a prison or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence;
      • services providing food or drink to the homeless.

    · Bars, including bars in hotels or members' clubs.

    · Public houses.

    Workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food.

    Outside areas adjacent to premises, where seating is available for customers, are treated as part of the premises, and so the rules above should also be followed in relation to those areas as well.

    Food and drink sold by a hotel or other accommodation as part of room service is exempt from the rule above – it is not to be treated as being sold for consumption on premises.

    The 'emergency period began on 26th March 2020. An end date has not yet been specified, but this is being reviewed at least every 21 days.

    Failing to comply with the above rules is an offence and can result in a fine.

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