Keep 2m apart
Protection and prevention

Updated 02.02.21

Mass testing – England

Free rapid testing is available to food and drink businesses employing more than 50 people in England, including wholesalers who meet this criteria, and DHSC is inviting businesses to register for Government-funded lateral flow testing to test asymptomatic colleagues. These free test kits will be available until March 31.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees should contact their local authority to discuss using a community testing facility, now available in 190 areas. The list of local authorities supplying lateral flow testing can be found here:

Vaccine priority

The UK Covid-19 vaccines delivery plan has now been published. The UK is currently in phase 1 of the rollout which includes residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, then those over 80 as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the at-risk population in order of age and clinical risk factors. The plan for phase 2 is being drawn up, and is due for rollout after February 15. Defra say that its sector’s “key workers”, which includes those working in food distribution, will be included in the “analytics” when making a decision on priorities for phase 2.



October 20:

Face coverings

Guidance has been updated to provide further clarity for staff in indoor settings in England. The latest guidance from Defra on face coverings in wholesale settings in England is:

• Staff in warehouses and distribution facilities are not required to wear a face covering during their work
• If staff are serving or coming into contact with visitors, they should wear a face covering
• Visitors need to wear a face covering when visiting warehouses/distribution facilities
• For other indoor settings, employers should assess the use of face coverings on a case-by-case basis depending on the workplace environment, other appropriate mitigations they have put in place, and whether reasonable exemptions apply.
Businesses are already subject to legal obligations to protect their staff under existing legislation. This includes taking appropriate steps to provide a safe working environment, which may include providing face coverings where appropriate, alongside other mitigations to a provide such an environment. The advice is that people wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where they cannot easily social distance and may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

Guidance for food businesses

The Government has updated its safe-working guidance for food businesses

Prevention of infection

Guidance for food businesses from PHE, FSA and Defra has been updated. It includes a new section on prevention of infection and a revised section on management of outbreaks, including contact details for health protection teams.

June 20: Test and Trace

DHSC has issued guidance with Frequently Asked Questions on test and trace in workplaces, which covers a range of employer issues including GDPR. If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with a workplace, employers should contact their local Health Protection Team to report the suspected outbreak. The Heath Protection Team will undertake a risk assessment and provide public health advice.

May 12: Working safely

The Government, in consultation with industry including FWD, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The guidance covers a range of different types of work including delivering to homes, operating distribution centres and vehicle delivery. It states that businesses must undertake a risk assessment, using the guidance to inform decisions and control measures. All businesses with over 50 employees are expected to share this assessment on the website.

Covid-19 testing

April 30: Testing in England has now been expanded out to include any worker who needs to leave home to travel to work and cannot work from home. The guidance has been updated here Information on testing in the devolved nations can be found here:
Northern Ireland


April 25: The Government has digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests for essential workers who are showing symptoms of coronavirus, and have closed the manual processes. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves at

Employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing:

The online booking service will apply to England only, but full details on how to access testing in all nations and who is eligible can be found here:

Further information

The antigen testing programme is being rolled out to all key workers, which includes food and drink distribution, to help get colleagues back to work

  • Available to any key worker self-isolating – if they have symptoms, with priority for those who have family members self-isolating. Family members are eligible for tests as well
  • Channels:
    • Drive through test centres – 48 by the end of April. Capacity 12k tests a day.
    • At home testing – employee gets a text inviting them to test, Amazon delivers the test and courier picks it up once done. Results are known within 48 hours. Capacity 5k tests a day
    • Mobile tests
  • Employers will be able to book colleagues in for a test via an online portal – available by the end of the week
  • Results are shared with employees only
  • Testing will take place in devolved administrations also


Social Distancing

Government has published its Guidance for Social Distancing in food environments

It has also issued  PPE guidance.


April 8:Guidance has been published for specific sectors on social distancing during Covid-19. This includes advice for different sectors on how social distancing and other measures might be implemented to help protect workforce and customers from coronavirus while still continuing to trade. It includes shops running a pick-up or delivery service, manufacturing and processing businesses, retail, logistics businesses, tradespeople and farming sectors.


The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone. You need to minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of 2 metres between individuals. This advice applies to both inside the food business and in the external public areas where customers may need to queue. People should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds and more frequently than normal.

The practical implementation of this advice will depend on the local circumstances. This may be best evaluated by the store manager, however a few general indicators may be relevant to the majority of retail outlets:

  • use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the shop if they have symptoms
  • regulate entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded
  • use floor markings inside the commercial spaces to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of 2 metres, particularly in the most crowded areas, such as serving counters and tills
  • use vertical signage to direct customers into lanes if feasible to facilitate movement within the premises while maintaining 2 metre distance
  • make regular announcements to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly
  • place plexiglass barriers at tills and counters if feasible, as an additional element of protection for workers and customers
  • encourage the use of contactless payments where possible, without disadvantaging older or vulnerable customers
  • provide additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water and hand sanitiser

Further information on social distancing and adults who are at increased risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on GOV.UK.

One FWD members has shared the measures it has put in place in its Cash and Carry:
1. Line is drawn by the tills
2. Distance is kept at all times between the staff and the customers (2m)
3. Checkouts are cleaned thoroughly
4. All wear gloves
5. Hand sanitiser provided at checkouts
6. Masks provided when necessary
7. Toilets are cleaned well
8. Taps are cleaned thoroughly
9. Hand wash is provided at all times
10. Make sure all our colleagues wash hands often
11. Trolleys cleaned regularly with sprays or soapy water
12. Computers and office touch points wiped down. Especially goods in. Flt controls and hhts. Lorry drivers to wash hands on arrival

Staff canteens and rest areas

It is very unlikely that coronavirus is transmitted through food. Workplace canteens may remain open where there are no practical alternatives for staff to obtain food.

  • as far as reasonably possible, a distance of 2 metres should be maintained between users
  • staff can continue to use rest areas if they apply the same social distancing
  • notices promoting hand hygiene and social distancing should be placed visibly in these areas
  • if possible, increase the number of hand washing stations available


Use of face masks in the community

April 6: PHE has issued the flooding advice:

There is very little evidence of widespread benefit from the use of face masks outside of the clinical or care settings, where they play a very important role.

To be effective, face masks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly, disposed of safely and used in combination with good universal hygiene behaviour.

Research shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours reduces over time when wearing face masks for prolonged periods, such as in the community.

Therefore, PHE does not advise masks in public places and for those working in supermarkets, waste collection, schools and similar settings.

PHE recommends that employers should ensure that:

  • spaces in the workplace are optimised to allow social distancing to occur, wherever possible
  • signs are visible in the workplace reminding employees not to attend work if they have a fever or cough and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • employees are provided with hand sanitiser for frequent use and regular breaks to allow them to wash their hands for 20 seconds

The UK does not currently advise use of face masks outside of care settings, in line with PPE guidance.

PHE will continually review guidance in line with emerging evidence and WHO views, and update our guidance if new evidence suggests that we should do so.

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