Farm shops are proving a vital lifeline in supplying food to many local communities, with many offering new home delivery services or contactless collection points to help get food to those most in need.
Some farm shops have decided to move to a collection/delivery-only business model, but others remain open to customers.
To protect the health and safety of staff and customers, farm shops are introducing extra hygiene procedures to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
See also: Map: Find a farm shop near you
Many are publicising them online to explain to customers what to expect if visiting, and to offer reassurance.
The following list highlights some of the measures put in place by farm shops in recent days:
- A number of farm shops have set up hand-sanitising stations at the door and are asking customers to clean their hands before entering or touching any products.
- Shops are asking customers to let one person do the essential shopping and leave the rest of the family at home or in the car. Many have introduced limits on numbers allowed in the shop at one time so as to keep the recommended 2m between customers and staff.
- People queueing to enter a shop are being reminded they need to leave a social distancing gap between each other.
- Businesses are asking for payments to be made either contactlessly or by phone to avoid the need to handle cash. Where cash is still accepted, some shops are asking for exact change, so that money can be thrown into a container by the customer.
- Shops offering a “click and collect”-type service are asking customers to open the boot of their car and then get back into the car. The order can then be brought out and placed in the boot with minimum contact with the vehicle. The customer can then close the boot.
Meanwhile, the Association of Convenience Stores (ASC) has issued the following guidelines on best practice for shops carrying out home deliveries.
- If making home deliveries for the first time, ensure all vehicles are taxed, MOT’d, and insured for business use.
- Chilled food can be kept at an ambient temperature for a maximum of four hours in one continuous period, so you do not have to have a chilled compartment or box for a short journey. However, if a chilled product is kept at a temperature of more than 8C for more than four hours it should be destroyed.
- Parking restrictions apply as normal and drivers should be courteous to all residents when making deliveries. A sign reading “Community grocery delivery in progress” is available to print from the ACS website.
- Minimise the risk of delivering to people who are self-isolating by leaving deliveries at the front door. Do not enter the home or directly hand the delivery to them.
- Wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds every time you return to the store and at least every two hours. Clean on a regular basis surfaces you regularly touch, including phones, car steering wheels, and car handles.