Guidance for seafood businesses on working safely during Covid-19

We have collated links to information and guidance for seafood businesses to follow on working safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, seafood businesses should follow updated advice and guidance on working safety. There are different rules and time frames in different parts of the UK and this is a constantly evolving situation. 

The information below was last updated on Tuesday 14 July 2020. We will continue to provide further updates as the situation develops.

Onshore businesses (including seafood processing, retail and foodservice)

The UK Government has published guidance to help get the UK safely back to work. This sets out five key points for businesses to implement as soon as it is practical:

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  3. Help people to work from home
  4. Maintain 2 metre social distancing, where possible
  5. Where people cannot be 2 metre apart, manage transmission risk

Guides covering different types of work have been produced to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. A number of these will be of particular interest to seafood businesses. Depending on your operations you may need to refer to more than one guide.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has produced a checklist to support food businesses to reopen safely after being closed for a period. (This is designed for businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.)

We have created specific guidance for fish and chips shops preparing to reopen for takeaway after a period of closure. This includes advice on food safety; dealing with incoming goods; managing customers, orders and payment; and making deliveries.


The UK Government has published guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Defra, FSA and Public Health England have published specific guidance for food businesses.  It covers the role of employers in prevention management and the management of cases in the workplace. This includes related activities such as worker transportation and accommodation.

FSA has guidance on hygiene and food safety requirements for food businesses to reopen and operate safely during COVID-19.


The Scottish Government has published guidance for businesses on physical distancing and on the use of personal face coverings by individuals.

Specific business guidance is available for the:

These guides provide information on planning, operational procedures and checklists for employers, staff and where applicable customers.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has issued revised COVID-19 Guidance for Food Business Operators and Their Employees to reflect Scotland moving into Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Route Map. This includes:

Trade body UKHospitality has published advice and guidance for hospitality businesses in Scotland.


The Welsh Government has dedicated support and help for businesses and employers on the COVID-19. This includes detailed advice and guidance to help keep safe in the workplace for:

 Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has published guidance for businesses and employers on workplace safety guidelines and social distancing and also guidance for workers.

There is also information specific to food businesses on how to work safely. This covers social distancing, hygiene processes, and new requirements businesses must follow as they develop new ways to work:

The Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association has published best practice COVID-19 Guidance reflecting good manufacturing practices in food manufacturing.

Test and Trace – Information and Guidance for Employers

A central part of the UK’s COVID-19 recovery strategy is the NHS Test and Trace Service. It will help monitor and provide vital early warning of increasing regional and local levels of COVID-19. Employers and businesses play an important role in assisting this programme to slow the spread of the virus. Follow the links below for employer information and guidance:

Other useful sources of information, advice and guidance

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provides information and advice including short guide on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak. This covers social distancing, staggering shifts and additional hygiene and staff management measures. 

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has a summary page on their website. It provides information on key worker status and social distancing measures for food manufacturers. There are also links to key government documents relevant to the food and drink industry.

The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) provides resources on how to implement safe working practices and minimise risk in fish and chip shops and takeaway operations.

Working at sea and in port

The following UK Government guides contain information relevant to fishing vessel operators to help ensure crew are as safe as possible:

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has produced a Marine Information Note containing guidance for vessel owners on practical steps to be taken regarding the management and mitigation of COVID-19 and minimising the risk to crew.

Public Health England, the Department for Transport and MCA provide guidance for shipping and sea ports on steps to be taken by vessel owners and at ports to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

MCA has also published guidance on the reporting of diagnosed COVID-19 cases among seafarers on board ships, where there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work.

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has created a check-list risk assessment for fishing vessel owners and skippers. It contains advice on adapting operations to ensure safe fishing during Covid-19.