Will takeaways have to close during lockdown? And if it's safe to get food delivered

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” (Photo: Shutterstock)
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” (Photo: Shutterstock)

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

Here’s what you should know.

When are people allowed to leave their house?

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    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.”

    These three new measures are:

    1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

    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● Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person● Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

    These are the symptoms of coronavirus (Photo WHO)

    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.

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

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

    The government is currently advising: “People can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.

    “Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so.

    “This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect. People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.

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

    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; andLet people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowdedQueue 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● 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)

    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.”