On 23 March the UK government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, relieve pressure on the NHS and ultimately and save lives, with prime minister Boris Johnson announcing that all non-essential premises must now close.
Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance given on Friday 20 March.
Despite there being allowances for restaurants to continue a takeaway and delivery option, many businesses have chosen to completely close their doors temporarily.
Nando’s, Honest Burgers, Wagamama, ASK Italian, and many other national brands and independent operators decided to also suspend their takeaway and delivery services ahead of the government’s clamp down on social distancing last night.
“We hoped this time wouldn’t come,” a statement from Honest Burgers’ founders Tom Barton and Philip Eeles reads.
“But with a heavy heart, for the time being, we are closing our doors for eat-in and delivery at all Honest Burgers restaurants.
“We all need to ask with reason and responsibility in our heads and in our hearts.
“The most important thing we can all do at this difficult time is stay at home and look after our most loved ones, neighbours and local community. So that’s what we’ve asked our teams to do.
“The day we put on our aprons and fire up our grills will be the start of a new frontier for Honest.”
The Restaurant Group-owned Wagamama also announced it would put a stop to delivery and takeaway prior to the prime minister’s latest statement.
“Due to the current situation, we have taken the decision to put down all of our chopsticks and temporarily close all sites across the UK for delivery and take-out until further notice,” said Wagamama’s CEO Emma Woods.
“We’d like to thank our teams and guests for their loyal support and we look forward to opening up our spaces again to our Wagamama family very soon.”
Other hospitality businesses such as pubs, bars, nightclubs, hotels and members’ clubs have been ordered to remain closed.
What the new measures mean for your business
For restaurants that have operational takeaway and delivery facilities, people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.
Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so; this will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect.
People must not consume food or drinks on-site at restaurants, cafes or pubs while waiting for takeaway food.
Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit.
The government asked businesses and premises and other venues outlined not to open for trade from close of trade 23 March 2020, and will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
Without exception, all hospitality operators are instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others.
These new measures are now enforceable by law in England and Wales due to the threat to public health; further measures on enforcement could be taken following the passage of the
Coronavirus Bill through parliament.
A business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence.
As agreed with the devolved administrations, these measures will be extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland by Ministerial Direction once the Coronavirus Bill is in force.
Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate.
Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines.