Setting up a feeding scheme? Here’s what you need to know

Friday, June 12th, 2020
by Nikita Buxton


The Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund launched just under two months ago. In that short time, 48 restaurants across the country have received support and have been able to open their kitchens to cook for the needy in their communities. There is still such a great need to continue helping South African communities. If you’re a restaurant owner looking to start up a feeding scheme or soup kitchen, here are some guidelines and regulations around keeping your business compliant.

The following guidelines have been provided by the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien, according to the requirements of the Department of Employment and Labour regarding workplaces.

It is important to note that every workplace by now should have developed a risk assessment based on the operation of the business. The below directions give very clear guidelines for the prevention of the spread of the virus.

Personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, good hygiene practices and maintaining (and even increasing!) good manufacturing practices and cleaning regimes are very important. Also beneficial is the use of the correct cleaning and sanitising materials and keeping records of the programme and materials used. Staff training needs to be ongoing and the observation of staff habits is key in order to correct habits that could lead to the spread of the virus.

What should a kitchen comply with in terms of lockdown COVID-19 safety and PPE regulations –what is required in the kitchen, staff, attire etc?

Sanitisers, disinfectants and other measures:

Masks:

Gloves in a kitchen – is it a COVID-19 rule?

The use of gloves in the kitchen is not required by any legislation, and gloves give a false sense of cleanliness to the wearer. It’s also possible that the wearer may wash their hands less. Regular washing of hands throughout the day remains the best.

Will someone from government/health and safety check the kitchens? If so, what documentation should they have in place?

Restaurants should be in possession of a Certificate of Acceptability issued in terms of the regulations that deals with the hygiene practices at premises and the transportation of foodstuffs (R 638/2018) Most food businesses will also be in possession of a Business Licence issued by the Municipality’s Health Department. As for the compliance with the Department of Employment and Labour, that is for the enforcement of their inspectorate on a random or complaints bases.

From the City of Cape Town’s perspective, we continue with routine inspections and have been providing information to retailers to improve their readiness for COVID-19; however, we do not sign off on any documents. It is important that the owner keep records and can show due diligence in preparing the business to deal with COVID-19 challenges.

As for the restaurants now being used to prepare foods for relief, I do not foresee a problem if the business already has the above in place. However, as for serving the food for relief at the premises, I think that will not be allowed. As for delivering it to specific NGOs for distribution, the restaurant may need the approval of Disaster Risk Management within the City or district municipality. These initiatives draw great many persons to the distribution site and creates challenges for the safety and security personnel and therefore needs to be coordinated.

Lastly, the transportation of the foodstuffs will need to be approved by the local environmental health practitioners, as transportation of foodstuffs is not normally part of a restaurant’s business operation and so the Certificate of Acceptability would not include that as a practice that was evaluated. Temperature control is important when transporting foodstuffs and so are the containers and the condition of the vehicles.

For the full document on COVID-19 Occupational Health And Safety Measures In Workplaces, visit: https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/202004/43257gon479.pdf

About the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund

COVID-19 has left restaurant kitchens empty and created more and more hungry South Africans. The Fund offers financial support to restaurants that have reopened their kitchens to create food for the needy in their communities. This way it does two things – help feed the vulnerable, while also supporting the industry economically. The fund is administered by Community Chest (an NPO and PBO) and donations are tax-deductible. Eat Out receives no commercial benefit – Eat Out and New Media are donating time, the team, brand, running costs and resources to this initiative at no cost so that all money donated can go directly to qualifying restaurants.

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