Member COVID-19 support

Although we are working remotely we are still working hard to support our members during the Covid-19 crisis.

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UK updates and guidance

For the lastest UK updates on COVID-19 please visit the FDF website

Updates

This page provides an overview of the latest updates on COVID-19, as well as detailed guidance for each of the below key topics. For each key topic, we outline the latest advice, including detailed Q&A's and links to government guidance.

Re-opening post-lockdown

Scotland

The Scottish Government’s website provides the latest guidance and news on Covid-19.

Further guidance has been published including:

Guidance for all manufacturing sites in Scotland

'Test and Protect' - information for people who are asked to self-isolate

'Test and Protect' - advice for employers

Transport Scotland's transport transition plan

Scottish Schools re-opening guidance

Food Standards Scotland guidance for food operators and their employees and risk assessment tool

Workplace guidance

Travel quarantine rules

The Scottish Government has published quarantine rules and information on the process for people entering the UK. This includes the latest travel restrictions, self-isolation rules and passenger locator forms.

See Scottish Government guidance for more information

Food safety and science

These links provide guidance on a range of topics relating to COVID-19 and food safety and science. The Q&A includes a variety of guidance for food businesses including from PHE, FSA, the European Commission and WHO. The Q&A also covers the risk of transmission by food and drink, labelling and health marks, standards, audits and inspections and acrylamide testing.

PHE guide for food businesses

FSA guidance for takeaways and food delivery businesses

FSA guidance for bulk freezing of ambient and chilled foods

FSA guidance for consumers on coronavirus (COVID-19) and food

FSA risk assessment on the risk of food or food contact materials being a source or transmission route of SARS-CoV-2 for UK consumers

Key workers

The UK government has announced workers in 'food and other necessary goods' will have 'key worker' status. This is defined as: “those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

The First Minister of Scotland has been clear that food production is part of critical national infrastructure of Scotland and should continue where it is necessary and where it can continue safely in line with social distancing and guidance from Food Standards Scotland.

Clearly companies have a responsibility to ensure that only those workers who are necessary to ensure safe food production and delivery are still required to physically come to work. Anyone who can should work from home.

Social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE)

Where possible companies should observe the government's '2 meter' rule. However due to factory design or the nature of the work, it is acknowledged this will not always be possible. Companies have implemented processes to help ensure the safety of their workers such as limiting movement through the factory, restricting numbers in rooms and staggering shifts or extending factory hours to help minimise the number of people arriving and leaving at the same time.

The most detailed guidance for food and drink manufacturers remains that published by FSS or by NIFDA. PHE and the Welsh Government have also both published guidance; these contain limited practical detail but indicate the type of approach expected of business.

The DHSC PPE Plan provides details on how companies who can produce PPE can contribute under its 'make' strategy.

Face Coverings

On public transport and in many indoor spaces, you must now wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt. See guidance on staying safe outside your home for more information on face coverings.

PHE have produced guidance on how to wear face coverings, this includes how to wash face coverings.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of PPE by healthcare and other workers; these continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

Following sustained requests from FDF, DEFRA and the FSA have published additional guidance for food companies on the use of face coverings. The FAQ complements the government guidance on face coverings, and covers general questions on face coverings, the use of face coverings in food production/handling environments and in the retail environment. If face coverings are to be used in the manufacturing environment, the face coverings must be compatible with Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). If face coverings are not allowed in the manufacturing environment, there should be company procedures on how to safely store the employees face covering.

Face Masks – Normal Health and Safety

The Health and Safety Executive has provided guidance relating to temporary changes which will last for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis relating to the use of face masks and food dust particles. In effect, it allows for the use of FFP2 masks in place of FFP3, where companies are unable to obtain stocks, and following a risk assessment and implementation of dust minimising measures.

Testing

Update

Testing is currently available via the NHS for symptomatic individuals through home-testing kits, drive-through centres and a number of NHS facilities. In addition, employers are being encouraged to use asymptomatic onsite or home testing for their employees to provide confidence to employees and customers and help to protect and enable business continuity.

England

Everyone in England can now access free rapid lateral flow testing (LFDs) for themselves and their families to use twice a week. This universal offer is aimed at those individuals who are unable to access LFDs at work or through ‘school bubbles’.

Businesses are encouraged to continue to deliver workforce testing either on site or asking staff to collect tests and take them at home. The Government has committed to fund LFDs for employers until 30 June 2021.

The registration for employers to access fully funded LFDs has now closed. If you have not registered your interest, you have two options should you wish to test your staff who are not showing any covid symptoms:

1. Pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for you
2. Ask your employees to get free LFDs tests to take at home, or to visit an NHS testing site.

Find out more information about getting coronavirus tests for employees at: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests

FDF can facilitate antigen (PCR) testing for member companies through our health care provide BUPA. Please email covid19testing@fdf.org.uk for details and costs. Gov.uk has also published a list of private providers.

For NHS tests Government has produced an information pack for employers which contains detailed information about how tests can be requested and the process that will be followed. A shorter overview is available via the FAQ document. Government resources to help inform employees about testing options are available.

Although the mechanism to request testing is the same in England and Scotland, Scottish Government has produced its own guidance to the programme, which provides detail of the Scottish Government's approach and a list of Scottish testing centres.

Watch FDF - DEFRA: Workforce Testing Webinar 15-02-21 on vimeo

Scotland

In Scotland ‘higher risk’ food processing businesses with 25 or more employees are being prioritised for free lateral flow testing.  Find out if your business is eligible 

From Monday 26 April 2021 Rapid Lateral Flow (LFD) testing will be available in Scotland. Anyone who lives in Scotland and is over 18 can order the tests to be delivered to their home if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have been asked by their local authority or NHS Public Health team to get tested
  • Have someone in their household who is shielding
  • Are planning to travel to a Scottish island
  • Are unable to get tests from work, school, college or university

This service is for those without symptoms and is not to be used by anyone self-isolating.

A pack of LFD tests contains seven testing kits. There is a limit to ordering one pack per household each day.

Order testing kits

Wales

In Wales, free workplace testing is being focused on businesses with 50 or more employees who are: (1) unable to work from home and (2) deliver and maintain key public services. Find out if your business is eligible

Home testing will be available in Wales from 6 April and businesses are encouraged to register by 12 April

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland are prioritising the agri-food sector with 50 or more employees in its workforce testing programme. More information

Government support schemes

This section provides the latest summary produced by FDF of the many schemes that have been introduced by UK Government and Devolved Administrations to provide financial support to aid UK businesses. FDF's paper provides a top line overview of each scheme and how businesses can access the support. This is updated regularly as new details are added to the Government's Business Support webpages.

BEIS Guidance on financial support for businesses

Government support finder tool through which you can find out which coronavirus financial support your business is eligible to receive

 

Coronavirus job retention scheme, employment law and statutory sick pay rebate scheme

This section provides guidance and the latest developments on the government's Job Retention Scheme. Employees who are placed on temporary leave in order to benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are referred to as being 'furloughed'. The links below include key information for companies who will furlough staff, including legal information and how to calculate wages.

FDF has also provided guidance on the latest employment law relaxations and changes. FDF also provides guidance on the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, how to check if you can use it and how to claim.

HMRC Guidance - Check if you can claim for your employee's wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC Guidance - Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC Guidance - Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Additional support

It is important to note Government advice is changing and being updated as the situation develops. We highlight much of this information in our Q&A documents, but if you want to read the government information in full then the key Public Health England guidance are to employers and to those who are self-isolating.

BEIS has also launched a dedicated business support helpline so individuals can get advice on minimising and dealing with the impacts of Coronavirus. Businesses can call 0300 456 3565 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, or email enquiries@businesssupporthelpline.org.

Face Coverings

If you would like to purchase face coverings, the Government has partnered with a number of production facilities to offer approved, BSI kitemarked face coverings. Further details and contacts.

Please note these are face coverings, not PPE.

Webinars

Lockdown Households – almost a year on

Levercliff share the fifth set of results from their tracking survey focusing on what consumers are doing now, what habits have stuck, what they feel is important to them, and some glimpses into their future plans.

Read more

Workforce testing webinar

To help businesses in the sector access and implement workplace testing, FDF hosted a webinar with DEFRA, and guest speakers from other organisations. The webinar provides some insight into setting up and running workplace testing sites.

Read more

COVID-19, a review of potential civil and regulatory risk, now and in the future

Presented by Willis Towers Watson. This webinar helps businesses across all sectors to understand the risks they face from COVID-19.

Read more

See full listing

News

Support #HiddenHeroes

Please continue to support the FDF's #HiddenHeroes campaign on Twitter @foodanddrinkfed and @FDFCorpAffairs which is highlighting the hard work happening across the supply chain to keep the nation fed.

Read more

Employment exchange and workforce collaborations

FDF have collaborated with job recruitment apps Placed, SonicJobs and Syft to share potential job opportunities across the food and drink industry, specifically in distribution warehouses, driving, and logistics

Read more

Letter from George Eustice, Defra Secretary of State

The FDF is delighted that George Eustice, the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs wrote an open letter expressing his appreciation for the hidden heroes working on the front line of food and drink.

Read more

Report: Covid-19: The impact of the incident on food and drink manufacturing

30 June 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for food and drink producers. This report summarises the main issues, the challenges for food and drink producers then, now and going forward.

Read more

Podcasts

We regularly produce podcasts on insights and updates from across the food and drink industry.

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