Coronavirus Information Hub

Information, updates, support and advice for food and drink businesses impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to develop, there is a big collective effort in place to support the industry through an extremely challenging period.

The situation is hugely variable depending on the sector and customer base, with huge disruption in the supply chain, recognising the effective closure of the hospitality market and major disruption to export markets.

Over the last few weeks Scotland Food & Drink, alongside our industry partners, government and individual businesses, has worked through a number of key priorities. Below you’ll find all the latest developments, business and financial support available as well as key resources around workforce and social distancing in the workplace.

Covid-19 - Guidance for food business operators and their employees (29 May 2020)

Food Standards Scotland has developed guidance by outlining ways that physical (social) distancing can be applied in food manufacturing and processing premises, as well as other mitigation measures that can be implemented by these businesses to enable them to adhere to government advice for preventing the spread of Covid-19.

The guidance takes account of revisions in public health advice and feedback received from industry, Scottish Government and Trade Unions since the original version was issued at the start of April. It also reflects Scottish Government’s COVID-19 Framework for Decision Making (Scotlands Route Map through and Out of the Crisis).

It describes measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19 which should be applied by food manufacturing, processing and retail, as well as those food service and catering businesses which are permitted to operate in accordance with the Scottish Government routemap- which is currently restricted to the ‘Food to Go’ sector, including take-away, delivery and drive through services. 

Click here to read the full guidance. 

Updates & Announcements

You’ll find the latest developments here as well as on LinkedIn and Twitter. We issue an update on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To get the update direct to your inbox, sign up here.

Monday 1 June 

Monday’s update captures a summary of today’s developments as well as news from late on Friday.

Changes to furlough scheme announced

At the end of the week, the Chancellor published details of how the furlough scheme will operate through to its conclusion at the end of October. You can see all the published detail here. There are two elements to the changes: the introduction of ‘flexible furlough’ and the start of employer contributions to wage costs. 

Flexible furlough will begin on 1 July 2020, meaning that an employee can come back to work part-time. When working, the employer picks up the wage costs, but the remainder of contracted time that they are not working will be covered by the furlough scheme. This change is coming in a month earlier than previously announced.

On employer contributions, the plan is as follows:

June and July: No changes. Government will pay 80% of wages up to the cap of £2,500 as well as employer NI (ER NICs) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.

August: Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. However, employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions

September: Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

October: Government will pay 60% of wages up to a reduced cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

More guidance published for food and drink businesses – and tracing contacts of cases

Food Standards Scotland has now published revised guidance for food and drink businesses. Importantly, within the new publication is a risk assessment tool. With the rollout of the Test and Protect strategy – which will see close contacts of Covid-19 positive cases traced – the importance of adhering to the FSS guidance is reinforced once again.  

If producers manage physical distancing within the business, it is highly unlikely that the work colleagues of an individual who tests positive would be deemed a ‘close contact’ requiring to self-isolate. However, we know there are some instances where staff may be within 2 metres of each other, which is where other measures (PPE/screens etc) are important. If there is a positive case of Covid-19 in a member of the workforce who has worked with 2 metres of others, the assumption is that an individual risk assessment may be required in the workplace by the authorities. That will determine if colleagues need to go into 14 day isolation.

The FSS guidance remains the ‘manual’ for how to protect your workforce and how you can minimise disruption should a member of your staff become infected. As always, all the guidance is on the Scotland Food & Drink Coronavirus Hub and you can find it directly here.

Our next update will be on Wednesday but if you need to get in touch with us in the meantime, email us at

Thanks all,

James Withers

 Previous daily updates can be found towards the bottom of this page. 

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Updates and Activity

Collaboration is key to navigating what lies ahead and the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership is uniquely placed to help steer the food and drink industry through this unprecedented economic and health crisis.

The Partnership, bringing together ten trade bodies, public sector bodies and the Scottish Government, are harnessing their experience and history of collaborative working to swiftly respond to daily challenges with one, coherent voice.

Together, the Partnership is tackling each new challenge with tools and support specifically designed for the whole industry from timely joint industry statements to letter templates allowing our workforce to get to work.

We’re conscious that there is a lot of communication on Covid-19 from many different angles. To try and create one simple gateway into the information being produced by our industry and public sector partners, we have put it all into one handy table.

Support for Businesses

This is a collection of some of the business support resources currently available.

Support for Businesses - Financial Assistance

Covid19 - Support for Businesses - Financial Assistance

Find out more

Support for Businesses - Business Help

Covid19 - Support for Businesses - Business Help

Find out more

Support for Businesses - Webinars & Guides

Support for Businesses - Webinars, Insights & Guides

Find out more


Here you will find information clarifying key workers, Food Standards Scotland official guidance regarding ongoing operations and social distancing and links to recruitment portals for food and drink businesses.

Workforce - Adapting Your Workplace

Covid19 - Workforce - Adapting Your Workplace

Find out more

Workforce - Key Workers

Covid19 - Workforce - Key Workers

Find out more

Workforce - Recruitment

Covid19 - Workforce - Recruitment

Find out more

Public heath advice

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

If you are unwell

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss of normal sense of taste or smell

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home. If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

Use of face coverings

The evidence on the use of face coverings is limited, but there may be some benefit in wearing a facial covering when you leave the house and enter enclosed spaces, especially where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people you do not usually meet. Examples include, traveling on public transport or entering a food shop where it is not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from another customer. There is no evidence to suggest there might be a benefit outdoors, unless in an unavoidable crowded situation, where there may be some benefit.

By face coverings we do not mean the wearing of a surgical or other medical grade mask but a facial covering of the mouth and nose, that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf.

We are recommending that you consider using face coverings in the limited circumstances described above as a precautionary measure. Given that the evidence of impact on transmission is relatively weak, the public use of facial coverings is not being made mandatory and will not be enforced at this stage. However, we will keep this guidance under ongoing review as we consider any easing of lockdown restrictions in the weeks ahead.

Full details can be found here.

Previous updates

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