Food: Coronavirus:Written question - 41969

(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Coronavirus
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the conditions required to ease the lockdown include plans to (a) rebuild public confidence in the safety of the restaurant sector and (b) promote awareness that food handlers are key workers that are eligible for covid-19 testing.
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 12 May 2020

Defra, alongside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Devolved Administrations, is working closely with representatives from the food and beverage hospitality sector to support their planning towards reopening and their continued operations. This includes identifying what ongoing support businesses may need from the Government as they implement the measures required to protect workers and customers as restrictions are eased.

It is possible for many businesses to reopen safely, in a cautious way, and we welcome the reopening of food-to-go businesses, predominantly for drive thru, in line with

social distancing measures. Providing clear advice and guidance will be important to restoring confidence in restaurants, takeaways and other hospitality businesses, not only for customers but for workers too. This will be a key part of Government planning as we move towards the easing of restrictions.

This includes measures such as the Government expanding the eligibility for testing to all essential workers with symptoms of coronavirus, including those working in the food and drink industry. As a result of rapidly increasing testing capacity, we have been able to implement this and we have published advice including on how to arrange tests.

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