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Coronavirus - pubs and restaurants

COVID-19 Update - Cafes Pubs and Restaurants may re-open to trade from 4 July

On 23 June 2020 the Government announced that, from 4 July 2020, pubs, cafes and restaurants will be permitted to re-open for trade provided they can meet the COVID-19-Secure guidelines and follow the re-opening guidance issued for the hospitality sector. This guidance can be found online. Before you resume trading as a food business, please check regularly for up to date advice on the current situation using our business support pages, which includes the Council’s business recovery toolkit.

Wiltshire Council is fully committed to doing everything it can to support people, businesses and our local communities through this challenging time.

The government has announced that planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak. These changes will provide vital flexibility to pubs and restaurants and will ensure people are able to safely stay at home while still supporting these local businesses across the county.

The measures are the latest in a series of practical steps the government is taking to support businesses and help people who need to self-isolate, as well as vulnerable groups and older people who have been strongly advised to avoid social contact outside their homes to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. 
Full details of the proposal are available on the GOV.UK website.

We are receiving queries about the offer of pool tables, gaming machines and darts inside licensed premises when they open. Is this permitted? 

These are all activities that the Government have not identified within the guidance issued on 23 June 2020 to the hospitality industry as COVID-19 Secure. The need to stand around pool tables and gaming machines conflicts with the guidance to ensure that all indoor customers are seated. We expect that each licensed premises COVID-19 risk assessment will reflect this and the activities are not offered until restrictions are further relaxed. The Council will respond to any complaints received accordingly.

  • Currently, planning permission is required for businesses to carry out a change of use to a hot food takeaway
  • Planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak
  • This relaxation of planning measures will be introduced as soon as possible and will   apply for a limited period
  • The government will introduce a time limited permitted development through secondary legislation to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only
  • Businesses will be required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and later, when it ends. Simply send an e-mail to developmentmanagement@wiltshire.gov.uk with title ‘Change of Use of Pub/restaurant/cafe to takeaway’.  Please supply details in the e-mail of the name of your premises and its location and when the use as a takeaway is due to commence. You may receive a standard acknowledgment, but no further action will be required by you until you notify us later via the same method of when you intend to end the use.

Tenants must check their permitted user clauses in their lease.  The pragmatic approach from landlords would be to consent to any temporary changes of use.

  • The measures only relate to takeaways of hot food and non-alcoholic drinks. Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws
  • Operators are reminded however that the sale of hot food and hot drink between 23:00 and 05:00 will still require authorisation for late night refreshment under licensing law
  • Premises licence holders should check their licence conditions and ensure that they are permitted to make ‘off sales’ of alcohol before offering takeaways or deliveries of alcohol
  • If your current licence does not permit the required activities(s) you can apply for:
  1. Temporary Events Notices which are subject to time limits and / or
  2. Full variation application of the existing licence

Please see guidance and forms on the Licensing Act 2003 page.


The following advice is for those businesses that are looking to make provision for takeaways and deliveries where they have not done so before.

  • Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food, but, if you are changing how you are used to operating then you should think through the hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place
  • A business will only be in a position do this if they are registered as a food business with Wiltshire Council, have been inspected for food safety and hold of a current food hygiene rating
  • All foods must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat
  • Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. This may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag
  • If you are transporting hot food, it should be kept hot. This may need to be packed in an insulated box. It is recommended to keep distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes
  • The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have provided advice for business – ‘How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery.’
  • Allergens – There is a wealth of advice for businesses on allergen management on the FSA website.
  • Additional guidance for Public Houses offering takeaway food and other retail sales.
  • Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door step back at least 1 metre and wait nearby for your customer to collect it
  • Take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking a cash payment
  • If you are undertaking deliveries, you will need to put in place a system to enable customers to notify the food business and your delivery drivers whether they are self-isolating so that action can be taken accordingly as highlighted above.
  • You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations and in addition you have a general duty to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public
  • Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place, and any person so affected and employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately the illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the food business operator
  • The Government have issued guidance on COVID-19 for employees and businesses.

Public Information

If you have been asked to self-isolate or are self-isolating and you order a takeaway or food delivery by phone or online, please ensure you advise the business, so they can inform the delivery driver that the items are to be left outside, or as appropriate for your home.

If you suffer from a food allergy you must tell the business and identify your allergy very clearly when you make your order and ask them to confirm if they can meet your request. Please recognise that occasionally they may not be able to meet your requirements.

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Last updated: 2 July 2020 | Last reviewed: 2 July 2020