United Kingdom

Thousands of pubs and takeaways have missed up to three food hygiene inspections after Covid

Thousands of takeaways, pubs, restaurants and cafes are overdue up to three hygiene inspections after lockdown caused them to temporarily close. 

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is caught up in a backlog, where some of the highest risk establishments may have missed up to three inspections, according to The Times. 

It is down to food inspectors focusing on and some moving to the public health sector in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

It is thought that 1,500 category A businesses will be inspected by next year (stock image) 

This has resulted in some teams being understaffed. 

The FSA are set to propose a series of new measures to tackle the backlog. It is thought that around 1,500 category A businesses will be inspected by next year. 

Category A businesses are deemed to be the highest risk, for example, if they have a poor hygiene rating. 

It means that those who were due inspections last year could now be waiting up to two years between inspections as opposed to the usual six months. 

This March, this number has risen to 9,000. 

The FSA is supported by a number of bodies, including local authorities throughout the UK. 

It is the responsibility of local authorities to enforce food hygiene laws by inspecting businesses at any point in the food production and distribution chain. 

Pubs, restaurants, cafes and takeaways will reopen indoors from Monday 

Authorised officers work to give businesses advice and guidance on food hygiene, and can take action if they find the standards are not good enough. 

In some serious cases, businesses have been closed down and prosecuted.  

From Monday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen indoor areas, up to six people will be allowed to meet indoors and gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed outdoors. 

In a boost for businesses, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also hinted that social distancing measures, such as the one metre plus rule, could be relaxed as early as June 21 as part of the roadmap to freedom.  

It means pubs and bars will still have to follow rules such as mandatory table service and capacity restrictions come Monday. 

Elsewhere, overnight visits will also be allowed, meaning staycations can be booked, with hotels and B&Bs that do not have self-catering facilities permitted to open - as well as cinemas and theatres if audiences wear masks.

Up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings and other life events, and indoor sport and exercise classes can restart, along with sauna and steamrooms. 

Care home residents will be able to have up to five named visitors - and up to two at once provided they are tested and follow guidelines. 

Residents will also have greater freedom to leave homes without having to isolate afterwards.

Health chiefs say infections, hospital admissions and deaths have 'fallen consistently' over the past few months, with social distancing measures and the huge inoculation drive to thank.

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