Will takeaways close during lockdown? And if it’s safe to get food delivered as people told to stay indoors

The government has implemented new measures amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ordering people to stay at home other than for “limited purposes”

In his address to the nation on Monday 23 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that people would be able to leave the house to shop “for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible”.

Basic necessities include food and medicine - but are you still able to collect takeaway food or receive deliveries?

Here’s what you should know.

The government has implemented new measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, ordering people to stay at home other than for “limited purposes”The government has implemented new measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, ordering people to stay at home other than for “limited purposes”
The government has implemented new measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, ordering people to stay at home other than for “limited purposes” | Other 3rd Party

These three new measures are:

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- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

These are the symptoms of coronavirus (Photo: WHO)These are the symptoms of coronavirus (Photo: WHO)
These are the symptoms of coronavirus (Photo: WHO) | Other 3rd Party

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

- Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Can I still get a takeaway?

The government announced on Friday 20 March that all restaurants and bars would close until further notice, with many of them being allowed to operate as takeaways.

However, chains including McDonald’s, KFC, Nando’s and Costa Coffee decided to close completely on a temporary basis.

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Some takeaway and delivery services remain open and available, with the guidelines currently stating “Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational.”

Is it safe to get takeaway food amid the coronavirus pandemic?

The government is currently advising that, “Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational.

“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.

“Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their licence does not already permit.”

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However, the Government explains that even when leaving the house for one of the four reasons stated in the guidelines, “you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.”

The Government guidelines in regards to premises that remain open explain that they must:

- Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and

- Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded

- Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open

What will close?

The government had previously ordered certain businesses, including pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres to close.

It’s now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

- all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets

- libraries, community centres, and youth centres

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- indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities

- communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms

- places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families

- hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers)

When are people allowed to leave their house?

Government advice states that “The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

“When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection.

“That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.”

What happens if I don’t comply?

The government advises: “Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

“These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.”