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Adapting Your Workplace
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Coronavirus: Guide To Operational Best Practice

As lockdown measures start to ease, Scottish Bakers has today - Wednesday 10 June 2020 - published “Coronavirus: Guide To Operational Best Practice” to help bakers re-open or increase their activities safely.

The Guide To Operational Best Practice has been compiled to help bakers “Plan, Prepare and Pilot” their approach to restarting or increasing production and retail operations in a way that ensures they are doing everything possible to limit the spread of Coronavirus.

The document contains weblinks to official resources from sources such as the Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland as well as useful Risk Assessment Templates (MS Word format)  for both bakery and retail settings. 

Download the document: Coronavirus: Guide To Operational Best Practice (pdf - Updated 4 September 2020)

Social Distancing: Exemption to 1m for Retail & Hospitality

From Wednesday 15 July, hospitality businesses (specifically public houses, restaurants and cafes) and retail can move from 2m to 1m physical distancing. This is conditional on appropriate additional mitigating measures being implemented to reduce the elevated risk associated with a 1m distance as oppose to 2m.

Sector guidance has also been updated in relation to the collection of customer contact details to support Scotland’s Test and Protect system and additional guidance has been published on the safe use of toilet facilities.

These should all be taken into account for planning purposes.


We can confirm that the Scottish Government has now published their updated retail sector guidance to include mandatory face coverings.

The measure, which came into force today, applies to customers and staff with some exemptions.

The published guidance states that it "is only mandatory for food businesses which sell food exclusively by retail. It does not apply to restaurants or cafés including take-away and ‘food-to-go’ businesses which cook or prepare meals/dishes on-site for customers to pick up and consume elsewhere or in a seating area within the premises."

If you have a 'food-to-go' offering then you need to ensure physical distancing between staff and customers in accordance with the guidance on tourism and hospitality and Food Standards Scotland’s guidance

The Scottish Government states that although face coverings are not mandatory in these businesses, their use may be advisable as an additional mitigation measure, particularly in circumstances where 2m distancing is difficult to maintain.

For those who do not offer a 'food-to-go' service the following exemptions are in place for Staff and Customers:

Staff Exemptions

  • predominantly based in non-customer facing areas, such as stock-rooms
  • in customer-facing areas if there is 2m physical distancing or a partition such as a perspex screen between customers and staff
  • outwith store opening hours

Customer Exemptions

  • children under 5
  • people with health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress
  • if people need to take medication or to eat or drink where reasonable necessary
  • temporary removal to comply with a request by a relevant person or another person acting in the course of their duties
  • for customers with a hearing impairment and those who lip-read, and remove the face coverings, as necessary, to provide advice. information or assistance
  • for age-related sales customers are asked to ensure that they remove face coverings in accordance with requests from staff
  • in some food-handling settings where the wearing of a mask could compromise the hygiene practices that are already in place to ensure food safety

A face covering is defined as any type of protective clothing which covers a person’s nose and mouth, which includes fabric face coverings, scarves and visors. It could be, but is not required to be, a PPE face mask.

Ultimately you will need to assess your retail operations and decide what is applicable to your business in order to adhere to the legal requirements. You may wish to consider other factors such as customer perception if your staff will not be wearing face coverings when serving members of the public.  


Guidance to support Scotland’s tourism and hospitality sector to reopen safely has been published.

The industry has been asked to prepare for reopening on 15 July, if sufficient progress is made to move to phase 3 of the route-map. It sets out the key public health measures that will need to be taken to allow safe reopening, including:

  • Establishing physical distancing taking account of organisational capacity, queue management, signage and markings
  • Enhanced hand hygiene measures and cleaning practice
  • Advice on workforce planning, including training and equality issues
  • Guidance for customers to ensure they know how to plan ahead and engage safely with the tourism and hospitality sector

The guidance, and a useful checklist, has been developed in partnership with industry, unions and public health bodies.

Official Guidance Sources

The Scottish Government's revised guidance sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.

This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the website.

See the latest Government guidance (updated 29 May 2020)

Food Standards Scotland: Guidance for Food Business Operators and their Employees

Food Standards Scotland has produced detailed guidance for food business operators and their employees on how to ensure enhanced saefty measures during the COVID-19 crisis. Yoou can download the full guidance from the link below. 

View the FSS Guidance (updated 29 May 2020)

Personal Protective Equipment

Increase use of PPE, where possible though we’d remind businesses that there is no further requirement for PPE for your staff, beyond what would normally be required. It is important we don’t add to the national demand for those products, the priority for which needs to be frontline NHS staff.

Health and Safety Executive releases an open letter to the food industry re PPE

The Health and Safety Executive in an open letter has outlined that some workers will have to wear less effective masks, because of shortages of availability due to the coronavirus outbreak. Manufacturers who use fine powder ingredients, including seasonings, flavourings, stabilisers, cocoa and flour, as well as powdered household products, issue staff with face masks as part of their standard health and safety policies.

For example, in bakeries, breathing in flour dust can be a significant risk as it can cause occupational asthma. The Health and Safety Executive also note that suitable control can often be achieved using good working practices and local exhaust ventilation (engineering controls) which then means that employees do not need to wear dust masks; reducing overall pressure on the supply chain.

Read the full letter

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here to download an example.