Safety consultancy Navitas has launched a Covid Control certification scheme to help fish and chip shops reopen while complying with the government guidelines.
The initiative starts with free practical advice that deals with three key areas - front of house procedures and the practical controls to stop any spread of covid-19, food production and kitchen work areas, and finally general controls for staff.
Shops will then receive a short and distanced visit from a Navitas environmental health consultant who will conduct a full audit to ensure the correct controls are in place and that the catering facility is fit to operate.
On satisfactory completion, a full digital Covid Control report and Covid Control Certificate will be issued which can be displayed in-store and online.
Derek Gardner, environmental health consultant and a director at Navitas, believes its guidance will enable the industry to reopen its doors optimistically, safely and speedily to the public.
He comments: “Societal behaviours will most definitely change as a result of the widespread disruption and danger we have all been exposed to and businesses will need to demonstrate high levels of coronavirus controls in order to ensure staff and customer safety, to reassure reluctant customers and to secure the future of their establishments.”
He adds: “While temporary social distancing measures such as ‘one in, one out‘ systems have been put in place in most fish and chip shops, for example, employers still have a ‘duty of care’ to their staff and must seek to implement effective controls both back of house and front of house.”
Navitas’ advice and certification will assist businesses in re-opening at their earliest opportunity with effective safety procedures in place. These might include enhanced sanitising stations around touchpoints like light switches and handles, the adoption of a system of travel and signage that displays it, reviewed seating and screening arrangements between tables, all the way through to contactless payment and the introduction of disposable PPE equipment in kitchens across the UK.
Noting that many businesses were quick to close-down upon the immediate lock-down enforced by the government last month, Derek adds that commercial kitchens may need to be aware of some of the potential risks from such a swift ‘close down’.
“There are various dangers to closing a premises, from leaving the oil in your fryers through to electricity being dormant for so long. One of the biggest threats to come out of the pandemic is pest infestation as, in the relative absence of humans, pests such as rodents are returning to the quiet cities. If people haven’t been near the premises and food stock has been left out, pest infestation could be a significant risk.
“People also often forget that, during a time of closure, annual certifications of statutory testing of electric and gas may have expired. You also risk your reputation, if you do not consider the potential impacts on the customer.”
To register your interest with Navitas, please visit www.navitas.eu.com