The latest information from Central Government on Monday afternoon included the fantastic news that many of our food and beverage businesses can now begin to prepare to move out of Level 4 -lock-down and into Level 3 with restricted trade next Wednesday 29 April.
Please be aware that the initiation of Alert Level 3 does not enable all food businesses to re-commence trade immediately.
The reasons for this are:
- Covid-19 is not a large food safety risk its self – it’s the person to person contact that occurs in cafes, restaurants, bars, busy kitchens, rest rooms, pubs etc. that spreads the virus.
- Keeping Covid-19 detections at a low level and continuing to limit its spread.
- Allowing food businesses time to prepare themselves appropriately such as carrying out pre-clean, implementing health & safety parameters, restocking of ingredients, organizing staffing and conducting staff training.
- Ensuring food businesses have the processes in place to trade safely as we move through the Alert Levels back to “business as usual”.
- This includes ensuring that the business is registered for particular trading operations such as home deliveries and that control processes are in place for these e.g. delivery traceability records.
Think of it like this: That pie is highly unlikely to harbor the Covid-19 virus, but the door handle at the entrance to the Café probably will – hence there are more restrictions in place in the initial stages of this Alert Level 3 than there were right before lock-down.
Right now the Alert Level 3 message is:
- Food businesses can operate under Alert Level 3 so long as they deliver or offer pre-arranged collection of goods bought online or by phone. Some specific examples include butchers, bakeries, greengrocers and takeaways.
- Specifically; Retail and hospitality businesses can only open for delivery and contactless pre-ordered pick up – customers cannot enter stores.
- The business must be registered for delivery and/or takeaway style trade.
- There is to be NO face to face contact at the moment.
- Supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations can continue to allow customers into their stores, with the same restrictions and measures in place as Alert Level 4.
- There must be a limit to the number of customers in the premises at a time – specifically small stores must have one customer in store at a time.
- Businesses that require face-to-face contact, or people congregating in a specific area, remain closed under Level 3.
What do you need to do right now?
- Check if your business can operate during Alert level 3: https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-3/
- Check if the Scope of Operations document/ Food Registration Certificate for your businesses lists the trading operation of interest – if not please contact Council asap and we can easily get this sorted for you.
- Let us know that your business is recommencing trade – this is vital as there are strict parameters that have been put in place by MBIE and MPI-Food Safety New Zealand.
- As your Registration Authority, Council must record that your business is operating during Level 3 and following the Covid-19 safety guidelines.
- You may also be contacted about this directly by MPI and by representatives from the Ministry of Health.
If you are all clear and ready to open:
Ensure your premises is ready for food preparation: Clean and sanitized, equipment working, pipes flushed, staff trained in Covid-19 guidelines, ingredients dated checked/ restocked etc.
The Re-opening Checklist is available here. Fill the checklist out as you complete each check and file it with you food safety records.
Review your Food Control Plan or National Programme manual to ensure that all the appropriate records, checks etc. are in place for carrying out the food preparation and trading operations. E.g. staff are trained in cooking and cooling processes and temperature checks, thermometers are clean and working, appropriate packaging and traceability records are available for the deliveries.
Information about food businesses operating during Alert Level 3 is available on the MPI website: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-food-safety/covid-19-and-food-safety-in-alert-level-3/re-opening-or-making-changes-to-a-food-business-in-alert-level-3/
Level 4 Information is available here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-food-safety/covid-19-and-food-safety-in-alert-level-4/
Many of our local food businesses are due for a routine Verification service. Right now, these can be conducted as “Remote Checks” (the Verifier protects your bubble by not physically attending your site – unless a critical non-compliance is identified).
- There are some local food businesses who’s Food Act 2014 Registration has expired during March/April.
- In order to operate a food business at any time, and particularly at this risky time, a current Food Act 2014 Registration is required.
- Registration tells us, and MPI, that the food business is current and following the template Food Control Plan or National Programme as required under the Food Act 2014.
- Please check your Registration Certificate. If it has expired, please get in touch asap and we can promptly renew this for you.
- In order to help support our local food businesses, Council would like to waive the Registration and Verification fees at this time.
Please get in touch ASAP if:
- You would like to recommence trading under Alert Level 3
- To check that the businesses is registered for the type of trading you wish to do/ the businesses Registration Certificate or Scope of Operations is unclear or not available
- To add a Trading Operation to your Scope of Operations
- You need a copy of the template Food Control Plan or National Programme manual or supplementary record forms
- To check what sort of record keeping you need to do.
- Would like to book a Verification service
- Need to renew your Food Act 2014 Registration
- Have any other queries or concerns. We are always happy to help you.
We will let you know further updates soon as possible.