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Keeping Covid-safe this Christmas

Covid-19 support | 10 December 2020 | Michaela Bateman

Christmas is traditionally the busiest time of the year for businesses in catering and hospitality. This year, however, Christmas celebrations will look a lot different for everyone with the changes in how we are allowed to socialise depending on the tier you are in.

In a recent survey we found that 30% of food operators are leaving their Christmas planning later than usual as there are simply too many unknowns. But this isn’t anything new, we have seen Christmas happening later and later each year; we like to buy our presents and food later even to the point that Christmas Eve is now one of the busiest shopping days of the year!

Now is the time to ensure customers feel confident when eating out and being prepared for the moment they want a change of scenery or a treat from the mundane day to day life of staying at home, which also has now become the office, gym, restaurant and pub!

In previous years, the main safety point to consider would have been to avoid food poisoning and campylobacter – the so called ‘Christmas bug’ – but now we have a lot more to consider when dining in a pandemic.

Festive food and hygiene safety is all about the planning. Don’t just leave this to chance, that is why we recommend you look at a few key areas:

Keeping hands clean

This is still the most important safety measure we can take in keeping everyone safe against Covid-19. Ensure good hand washing procedures are in place for your staff and make multiple hand washing facilities available to your customers. Where there are no hand washing stations, provide clearly marked hand sanitiser areas. Remember these need to be cleaned regularly!

Personal protective equipment

Wearing a mask is now part of the new normal, so stock up on PPE to ensure staff are equipped with the correct personal equipment for their own and your customers’ safety.

Key touch points

Poor cleanliness provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Stringent cleanliness is crucial for worktops, floors, and equipment including chopping boards, knives etc.

But also remember those key touch points that are frequently used such as door handles, light switches and taps!

Avoid cross contamination

Food safety management is important so make sure appropriate systems, controls and monitoring is in place. Avoiding cross contaminations is the biggest preventative measure against food poisoning which means using separate areas and equipment for handling raw meat.

Avoiding cross contamination is just as important when cleaning and by applying a colour-coded cleaning system it can be prevented between areas. Always use two colours for the washroom areas and work from the cleanest area towards the dirtiest.

Labelling

Communication is more important than ever and now that most food-to-go service is a contact free, socially distanced experience, the need for accurate labelling has become even more essential, whilst also ensures regulations are complied with.

Takeaway/delivery service

Offering a delivery/takeaway service may be new to your business. Ensuring you have suitable disposable packaging that can be fully closed, making sure time and temperature controls are maintained, ensuring hygiene practices are followed when preparing and delivering the food are just some key things to remember.

And why not add an extra touch by including a napkin or disposable cutlery to make the dining from home experience even more memorable.

These are just some of the steps we recommend but why not take a look at our guide: ‘Helping you with…hygiene – the right cleaning solutions for you’ where you can find even more insights for best practice and product solutions ensuring you reach excellent hygiene standards and make the right choices for your business.

Christmas 2020 will be like no other, but throughout this pandemic we have shown we can adapt and we’re sure we’ll all get into the Christmas spirit…… it may be just a little bit different!

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