Coronavirus FAQ for Restaurants, Cafes and Takeaways, Updated 8th April 2020 - According to some data…
Takeaways and Coronavirus: a Guide for Customers and Operators, Updated 1st April 2020 – Following the article I wrote about Coronavirus FAQs for Restaurant, Cafes and Takeaways , some visitors contacted our company through chat. Most of them would ask the exact same question:
Are takeaways safe during the Coronavirus outbreak?
So I have decided to put together a guide on Takeaways and Coronavirus that could be used for both takeaway customers and operators.
To stay up to date about Coronavirus, make sure you check my blog post with a live Coronavirus map with updated world cases including individual stats for UK, US, Ireland, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
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Can Takeaways Stay Open?
Most of the takeaways are still open for business in Ireland, UK, US and Rest of the World.
Additionally, some restaurants are also repurposing their operations to collection and / or delivery only. You can read more in our article Coronavirus Marketing Examples from Restaurants, Cafes and Takeaways.
Having said that, many takeaways might change their opening hours and put limitations in place such as contactless payments, no-seating and no-contact delivery.
If you want to know how to temporarily change your business hours and description on Google Maps, make sure you read our post on how to update Google My Business during COVID-19.
Some takeaways take it to the next level…
Lads.. don’t be stuck for a Chinese takeaway..
There a always a way around the closures 😁😁 pic.twitter.com/OzQsQQfN51
— will…. 🇮🇪🇪🇺 ☘☘ (@cloneywill) March 18, 2020
For this reason, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on their business profiles on social media. If no info is available there, you can always give the business a call.
Are Takeaways Open in the UK?
As of 12 am on Tuesday, March 24th all non-essential shops in the UK are to close their premises to the public,
including takeaways, restaurants and cafes, while online orders and deliveries will continue. As far as takeaways, the government guidance says ‘people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers’ (source: manchestereveningnews.co.uk).
Following the government’s guidance issued on March 23rd, ‘takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational’ (source: gov.uk):
This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.
Businesses are encouraged to take orders online or by telephone, and businesses should not provide seating areas, indoors and outdoors, for customers to consume food and drink on. Ordering in advance is strongly encouraged to avoid waiting in, as per Public Health England guidelines.
Planning regulation has been changed to enable restaurants, cafés and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. The legislation can be accessed online.
People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafés or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.
Are Takeaways Open in Ireland?
From Wednesday, March 25th Ireland will see new Coronavirus restrictions in place, including the closing of all non-essential shops.
Takeaways, ‘restaurants and cafes can operate only for takeaway and delivery’ (source: rte.ie).
Following his speech to the people of Ireland on Friday, March 27th Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed in a tweet on Saturday, March 28th that takeaways are stay open:
No need to do all shopping or stockpile this morning. Food stores and takeaways staying open in the emergency. The 2km is about exercising locally. You can go beyond the 2km to buy food and medicines. The supplies are good. We all have a part to play in rising to this challenge
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 28, 2020
Are Takeaways Open in the US?
In the US the scenario changes from state to state. The common theme is that seated areas are closed across the country.
Here’s a breakdown of the states where takeaways are open for business, takeout and delivery only. (source: wsj.com):
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
Are Takeaways Open in Australia?
As of Sunday, March 22nd takeaways, ‘restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer takeaway’ and delivery services (source: abc.net.au).
Can Takeaways Stay Open?
This varies from country to country.
In the UK ‘they can continue to provide takeout services’ (source: Thesun.co.uk).
In Ireland ‘Cafes
and pubs can stay open but are advised to do so with caution’. Most cafes and restaurant are closed. The ones that are open they only offer collection or delivery (source: Dublinlive.ie.
In the US most takeaways are open for takeout and delivery only – no seated diners.
Are Takeaways an Essential Service?
Yes, takeaways are considered an essential services in most countries, including UK, Ireland, the US and Canada.
Are Chinese Takeaways Open?
Chinese takeaways, like any other takeaway, are considered an essential service. They can stay open as long as they follow the latest public health guidance.
Is It Safe to Order from Takeaways?
Ordering from takeaways is generally safe as there is currently no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted through food, food packaging and containers, or food handling.
Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted through Food?
We already reported this answer in the article Coronavirus FAQs for Restaurants, Cafes and Takeaways:
Experience with SARS and MERS suggest that people are not infected with the virus through food. So, it is unlikely the virus is passed on through food and there is no evidence yet of this happening with COVID-19 (coronavirus) to date.
Coronaviruses need a host (animal or human) to grow in and cannot grow in food. Thorough cooking is expected to kill the virus because we know that a heat treatment of at least 30min at 60ºC is effective with SARS (source: fsai.ie).
Again, from the same article:
Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects such as money.
Current information suggests that the virus may survive a few hours on surfaces.
Because there is not significant dat available, infectious disease expert Dr. Thomas Tsai gives the following advice (source: The Guardian):
it’s not a bad idea to wash your hands before you look through containers and potentially to wipe down some of the exterior surfaces.
Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.
Having said that, it’s probably worth making a distinction between takeaway operators preparing your food and those delivering your order.
Can Food Couriers Catch COVID-19?
Since they regularly see a number of people as part of their job, their chances of contracting the virus are higher than the average.
The no-contact delivery put in place by many food delivery services should reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 for both couriers and customers.
Keeping the so called ‘social distancing’ is also another way to minimise the risk.
Are Food Couriers More at Risk of Catching COVID-19?
Again, Dr. Tsai on this:
Especially if they are making deliveries to families who are in quarantine because they’ve tested positive for the infection. Given the number of people they see daily, the deliverers are probably among those at greatest risk of exposure, so they do need to be careful.
What Are Food Delivery Services Doing about COVID-19?
The majority of food delivery services including Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Takeaway.com are putting in place extra precautions to reassure their customers and partners. These include:
- No-contact delivery
- Order online or by phone
- Contactless payments
- Protective gloves for customer-facing staff
- Antibacterials and disinfectants for both staff and customers
- Social distancing
- Car window drop off
- Hatch facility
What is No-Contact Delivery?
No-Contact or Zero-Contact Delivery means you will have no contact with the deliverer of your food, which will be left at the door or at an agreed pick-up point.
What is Car Window Drop Off?
Car window drop off means you will receive your order while waiting in the car outside the premise. Some takeaways ask customers to wait in the car or give this option.
What is a Hatch Facility?
A hatch facility is a window food can be delivered through. One of the most well-known hatch facilities is the McDonald’s drive-thru.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is about keeping a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people. It’s also recommended not shake hands or make close contact if possible.
Social distancing is in place in premises that accept walk-ins such as takeaways.
What is Contactless Payment?
Contactless Payment is a form of payment where you can buy products or services by using your credit card, debit card or smartphone.
You pay by swapping your card or device onto a second device, which is used to process the payment.
It’s particularly recommended as preferred form of payment during the Coronavirus outbreak because it doesn’t involve the touching of any surface.
Can I Pay My Takeaway Order by Cash?
While some takeaways still accept cash, it’s recommended that you use contactless payments as COVID-19 can survive on surfaces and objects such as money.
This is the only statement I could find from Just Eat (source: Heart.co.uk):
We are introducing contactless delivery and continue to share relevant government advice with restaurants, couriers and our people
As for Takeaway.com, the Dutch company that acquired Just Eat earlier in January, they confirmed to Reuters that as of Friday, March 14th they would start ‘dropping orders at the door’ and that they will provide ‘delivery without physical contact’ (source: Reuters.com).
This is one of the statements issued by Deliveroo through a spokesperson (source: Yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk):
As well as providing restaurants with additional packaging and stickers to seal the delivery bags, we’re also launching a no-contact drop-off service which will mean you can request in the app that your rider leaves the food on your doorstep – removing the need for direct contact for both parties.
Uber posted an official statement on their website about the coronavirus outbreak and the steps the precautions they are taking. Here’s the main points:
- In accordance with health authorities, they are temporarily suspending ‘riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID‑19’.
- They are providing drivers with disinfectant and help them keep their cars clean.
- They have a ‘no-contact’ option in place for deliveries, where you can ask your courier to leave your food at the door.
Marvin.ie published a blog post ‘COVID-19 Tips for Takeaways’. They also offer some printing material that can be used in store. The tips are mostly for takeaways operators and are split between delivery and takeaways management:
- Drivers to wear latex gloves
- Accept contactless payments only
- Always read the receipt for instructions eg some customers might want the food left at the door
- Accept one customer at the time into the premise
- Consider dropping food directly to the customer waiting in the car
- If you have a window or hatch facility, consider running operations through this portal
- Keep social distancing
A representative from Grubhub confirmed that they will start doing contact-free delivery and that they have ‘provided drivers and restaurants with the CDC’s recommendations that focus on good hygiene’ (source: nypost.com).
Seamless belongs to GrubHub and applies the same precautions of the main group. These are mainly focused on contact-free delivery and extra hygiene for both drivers and restaurants.
Instacart belongs to GrubHub and applies the same precautions of the main group. These are mainly focused on contact-free delivery and extra hygiene for both drivers and restaurants.
Apache Pizza has a very detailed protocol in place, which can be found on their website. This protocol is focused on the following precautions:
- Zero contact delivery
- Online or contactless payments
- Sanitisers and latex gloves for drivers
- Social distancing
As of Friday, March 27th all Apache Pizza stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland will stop accepting cash as a form of payment:
*Disclaimer: Apache Pizza is an Increasily customer.
The only precaution I could find about Domino’s is the contact-free delivery option. From their Twitter account:
‘Contact Free Delivery’ at checkout on pre-paid orders. Your driver will call when they arrive to find out where you’d like your order left. Once it’s been placed in your agreed location, the driver will stay at least 2 metres away.
Four Star Pizza issue a statement, in the form of a blog post, about their ‘enhanced hygiene measures’. The main points are:
- Upgraded cleaning procedures
- Staff to wear disposable gloves when and in-between
- Handling cash
- Portioning foods
- Folding boxes
- Cleaning Activities
- Deliveries to Customer
- They still accept cash but they contactless payments
Pizza Hut published a blog post on their website, mostly focused on contact-free delivery. This is mostly focused on online payment, contact-free delivery and social distancing.
I couldn’t find any statement, blog post or press release about extra precautions in place.
McDonald’s has been one of the few brands, if not the only one, to share a video from his CEO updating their customers about the measures in place during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In brief, they have decided to ‘close seating areas, including the use of self-service beverage bars and kiosks, and shift our focus to serving customers through Drive-Thru, walk-in take-out and McDelivery’.
On Sunday, March 22nd McDonald’s issued a statement confirming the decision to close all restaurants in Ireland and UK by 7 pm on Monday, March 23rd at the latest:
An update from McDonald’s UK and Ireland — See you soon pic.twitter.com/43moFRrWRR
— McDonald’s UK (@McDonaldsUK) March 22, 2020
McDonald’s remains open in Australia. The following are some of the extra precautions put in place (source: 7news.com.au):
- Contactless payment options for In-restaurant, Drive-Thru and McDelivery services
- ‘strict cleaning, quality control and hygiene procedures’
Our [McDonald’s] crew are regularly washing their hands with anti-microbial hand wash, and as always, wearing gloves as they prepare your meal. The same hand wash is available for our [McDonald’s] customers to use to wash their hands in our [McDonald’s] customer bathrooms.
In a statement by Christopher Finazzo, President BK Americas, Burger King highlights what they are doing to keep their customer safe. This is an extract from their statement:
Safety: We are proud to say we have best-in-class cleaning procedures in place in our restaurants worldwide. We have handwashing, sanitization and cleaning rules that make sense. We wipe down pin-pads and door handles. We disinfect tables, chairs and all the surfaces in our restaurants.In light of COVID-19, we have increased the frequency of these cleanings, which now occur multiple times every hour at each of our restaurants.
Experts: We are connected with government experts. Whether it’s the CDC here in the United States or local government experts around the world. When the crisis started in China, we were among the first to do everything that these experts asked of us.
Teamwork: We are working hard with our amazing restaurant owners and their team members to always do the right thing for you, our guest. We will never cut corners. We have been America’s burger brand for over 50 years and it’s because you can trust that we strive to do the right thing.
Delivery: We have been meeting with the world’s biggest delivery partners to make sure they can handle increased demand for delivery. We offer BK Delivery on the BK Mobile App, BK.com, and with Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates. The BK Mobile App also offers simple ordering and pickup through the drive-thru or in-store, helping to provide a more touchless experience to keep you feeling as comfortable as possible.
Industry: We are talking to other restaurant chains around the world to understand what they are doing. We are the most competitive burger brand on the planet. But, there are times to turn down the grill and make sure as a restaurant industry that we are learning from each other. We are staying in touch with our competitors to make sure we’re all doing the right thing together in this situation so that you don’t have to worry about your health when you walk into any restaurant in the United States – whether ours or someone else’s.
On Monday, March 23rd KFC issued a statement on Twitter confirming they are closing all their UK and Ireland restaurants by Wednesday, March 25th:
As of today, we will begin closing all our restaurants in the UK & Ireland. Stay safe ❤️ pic.twitter.com/pX4WzgExyC
— KFC UK & Ireland (@KFC_UKI) March 23, 2020
In a letter posted on their website on March 18th, KFC CEO confirmed their US operations will be offering takeout and delivery only:
Starting Thursday, March 19, 2020, our restaurants across the U.S. will offer drive-thru, carryout, and delivery services only. Our dining rooms remain open for to-go/carryout only. You can order at the front counter and take your food to go, or you can order online at KFC.com and pick up your meal at the designated area at the front counter. If you don’t want leave your car, our drive thrus will continue to service you, too. Our Kentucky Fried Chicken Buckets & sides have always been perfect for eating at home, offering Sunday dinner seven days a week. And across the U.S., we’ll be offering free delivery through April 26 via KFC.com. We’re using tamper-evident seals so that your food travels safely, and with Grubhub delivery orders, you can now select the option for contact-free delivery at checkout so you have the safest experience possible.
Eddie Rocket’s has temporarily closed all their diners to the public until further notice.
They have a delivery service in place from selected diners:
They have made no official statement about COVID-19 on either website or social media but they offer free meals to members of the emergency services:
On Monday, March 23rd Supermac’s confirmed they are closing their seating areas. Stores will close until further notice by 7pm GMT on Thursday, March 26th.
At Subway they have decided to ‘temporarily suspend in-restaurant dining in restaurants and move to a takeout-only model. In the official statement, they also mention additional precautions to tackle COVID-19: Increasing frequency of cleaning and sanitizing restaurants, especially most-touched surfaces like door handles, credit card readers, dining areas, and restrooms, so that it’s done every hour. Temporarily removing dine-in sandwich baskets and serving trays, and amending our beverage refill policy to offer you a new cup with each refill. Reinforcing our existing health and food safety protocols with restaurant teams, such as frequent and proper handwashing, glove use, and ensuring employees who are ill stay home and seek medical attention. Making it a little easier to have a more touchless experience through www.Subway.com/Delivers with our partners DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats. They also offer free delivery and special promotions for takeout.
On Monday, March 23rd Subway confirmed they are closing their stores in both UK and Ireland.
On Sunday, March 23rd Nando’s released an official statement confirming the closure of its restaurants in UK and Ireland until further notice:
Lots of love, Nando’s ❤ pic.twitter.com/OxIGVeU4S5
— Nando’s (@NandosUK) March 22, 2020
On Saturday, March 21st Pret a Manger confirmed they were closing their 400 stores across the UK.
At the time of writing, Abrakebabra has made no official statement about COVID-19 on either their website or social media.
Fish and Chip Leo Burdock issued a statement on Facebook about how their stores are dealing with COVID-19. In brief:
We have reduce our sit down area to a minimum and spaced seating.
Now in most locations have now limited it to take away and delivery service only.
Our staff are currently using gloves and hand santiser.
Disinfectant has been increased on all surfaces throughout the day.
We encourage customers to use contactless where possible as payment.
In an official statement shared on Twitter, Beshoff Bros confirmed they are closing their stores across Co Dublin as of Monday, March 23rd:
We are sorry to announce that we will be closing our stores until further notice for any walk-in customers. You will still be able to order for Delivery through UberEats or https://t.co/4NfRdct13i
To see our full post, please visit our Facebook page or Instagram. pic.twitter.com/NaXf1p6ekf
— Beshoff Bros (@BeshoffsBros) March 23, 2020
This follows recent social media footage and pictures of long queues of people outside one of their outlets.
The posts generated controversy and concern about people not keeping social distancing, as per government advice:
Q for fish and chips in Howth. Absolutely disgraceful. And then we wonder why people are getting sick pic.twitter.com/VSlZU7R1ZU
— richie carroll (@fitzgeraldshome) March 22, 2020
On Monday, March 23rd Starbucks confirmed the closing of their coffee shops in Ireland until further notice.
This followed the statement from Saturday, March 21st confirming the temporary closing of their coffee shops in the US and Canada for two weeks.
On Friday, March 20th Starbucks UK also confirmed they were closing their coffee shops.
On Monday, March 23rd Costa Coffee issued a statement communicating they were closing their UK and Ireland coffee shops, while their ‘Costa Express Machines will continue to operate’ (source: hulldailymail.co.uk).
All their Ireland coffee shops are closed as of March 20th:
Important announcement to our Insomnia Community ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Hc0ciaBnu0
— Insomnia Coffee (@_InsomniaCoffee) March 20, 2020
In a tweet on March 14th Cafe Sol confirmed their coffee shops are ‘continuing to trade as normal’ :
Our cafes are continuing to trade as normal. Hygiene is always a top priority of ours and we are currently being extra vigilant! pic.twitter.com/RIVTm5pFSW
— Cafe Sol (@CafeSolIrl) March 14, 2020
In a statement released on Monday, March 23rd Krispy Kreme CEO confirmed they were closing their stores across UK and Ireland.
At the time of writing, O’Briens Handcrafted Sandwiches and Cafes has made no official statement about COVID-19 on either their website or social media.