Post Covid-19 Café Risk Assessments – Are You Covering All Bases?

Café Risk Assessments

With news that cafes, restaurants and bars can re-open, many businesses owners are grappling with health and safety in the post-COVID-19 era. To ensure you have all the necessary measures in place, a café risk assessment is essential but what should it cover?

The current COVID-19 guidelines

The UK Government, as well as the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments, are issuing weekly updates to their COVID-19. With a lead in times to changes happening on the ground of around one to two weeks, café owners, as well as other hospitality businesses, have a chance to make changes to their risk assessments and the measures they need to put in place.

Minimising contact between staff and customers is just one aspect of re-opening after lockdown. A café or coffee shop risk assessment must clearly set out what the hazards are, what the level of risk is for each of these hazards and what measures are in place to minimise the risks as much as possible.

Planning and preparing to re-start your café, coffee shop or food business

Many cafes and coffee shops are currently open, offering take away food and drinks. But with the news that customers can now once again sit and eat outside, the scope of your business has changed again.

A café risk assessment should cover aspects such as:

Service changes

If you have introduced service changes at your café or coffee shop, such as takeaways or deliveries, you need to consider:

  • Any risks to food safety as a result of takeaway service – if you didn’t offer a ‘grab a coffee and sandwich to go’ previously, you’ll need to consider the risks this presents to food safety, hygiene and handling.
  • Review and document these new procedures – for example, a café risk assessment should cover allergen management, cook-chill-reheat procedure, temperature control awaiting both collection and delivery

Staff and the coronavirus

The coronavirus is still present in the UK although the number of deaths from COVID-19 has declined significantly. With people returning to work, as their employer you still have a duty of care to ensure that they are fit to work.

  • If staff have COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay at home and seek a test
  • Follow current Government guidelines as to how long to isolate for
  • Staff should also wear clean clothes or uniforms every day
  • You may need to update your sickness policy


Providing PPE for staff is also considered essential but personal protective equipment is only protective if used correctly. You will need to update your health and safety manual, as well as your risk assessment document as to what PPE staff will be given and how they will be trained to use it.

Social distancing measures

In England, social distancing must be 1metre or more between but there are other actions you can take such as increasing ventilation. Your café risk assessment should also include how you will protect staff who are at higher risk, how to safely manage customers to your café (limiting numbers inside, for example) as well as training staff in new procedures.

There are many helpful online COVID-19 guides from the UK Government and our resident health and safety expert can also help update your coffee shop or café risk assessment too.

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Laura Batchelor
Laura Batchelor
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