Guidance for seafood businesses on working safely during Covid-19

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

Seafood businesses should follow updated advice and guidance on working safely. The situation continues to evolve and local and national restrictions mean that there are different sets of rules and guidance in different parts of the UK.

The information below was last updated on Wednesday 10 February 2021.

We will continue to provide further updates as the situation develops.

Onshore businesses (including seafood processing, retail and foodservice)

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

The Food Resilience Industry Forum has published best practice advice on using cohorts as a way to reduce the impact of a potential outbreaks on businesses. Cohorting is a secondary line of defence which must compliment following restrictions and available guidance.

Safety In Action has shared advice relating to deliveries.

We have written 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.

Information for businesses in England

From 6 January, a national lockdown is in force in England.


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

Guides covering different types of work have been produced to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. These also set out priority actions to take. Depending on your business you may need to refer to more than one guide.

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.

Public Health England has also published principles for local health protection teams on how to approach and handle outbreaks and incidents of Covid-19 in the workplace. Businesses may find it helpful to familiarise themselves with these.

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

Trade body UKHospitality has published guidance and FAQs on the current rules as they apply to hospitality businesses in England. They have previously published advice on covid secure working and risk assessments

Food sector businesses in England with more than 50 employees can now access government support to set up rapid, on-site Covid-19 testing for asymptomatic employees who are unable to work from home. Free lateral flow test kits will be available until 31 March 2021. Register and access more information on setting up a testing site for asymptomatic employees here.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can register their interest by emailing with the subject line: "Register interest for National Worker Programme" and providing their company name, company registration number and size of company.

Information for businesses in Scotland

From 5 January 2021, much of Scotland has been in lockdown.

Find out more and check the covid protection level for your area.

Access a quick guide of what each local protection level means for hospitality businesses.

The Scottish Government has published guidance for businesses and individuals on working safely.

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) continues to revise their Covid-19 guidance for food business operators and their employees. This includes:

FSS has also produced new guidance for food business operators on the investigation of Covid-19 outbreaks. It includes a checklist on how to prepare for an Incident Management Team (IMT) investigation, which businesses may find helpful when reviewing their Covid-19 risk management plans.

Scotland Food & Drink has a checklist of some key Covid-19 controls to consider in the context of business risk assessments

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

Information for businesses in Wales

From 19 December 2020, all of Wales has been in lockdown.
View details of the restrictions in Wales

The Welsh Government has dedicated support and help for businesses and employers during Covid-19. This includes detailed advice and guidance on keeping safe in the workplace.

UKHospitality has published advice and guidance for hospitality businesses in Wales.

Information for businesses in Northern Ireland

From 26 December 2020, Northern Ireland has been in lockdown.

NI Direct provides information on the current regulations and guidance for Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has also 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.

Tourism NI has produced guidance for the hospitality industry and guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars.

Other sources of information, advice and guidance

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance 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

We worked with Defra’s Marine and Fisheries Safer Working Group to produce a poster with guidance for fishermen and workers in and around ports and harbours. To request printed copies please email

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.

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

Test and Trace – Information and Guidance for Employers

Testing and tracing is a central part of the UK’s Covid-19 recovery strategy. It helps monitor and provides 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: