All UK fish and chip shops urged to close during coronavirus lockdown

Published on
March 25, 2020

The United Kingdom’s National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has recommended the nation’s 10,000 fish and chip shops temporarily close their doors due to concerns that queues forming at takeaway outlets contravene strict government guidelines to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby putting people’s health at greater risk.

In a statement posted on the trade organization’s website, NFFF President Andrew Crook said that the board had taken the decision to advise the closures as without help to marshal queuing customers, it cannot guarantee the safety of employees or the general public.

“The closure of other food options and the sunny weather has compounded this problem with many facing a backlash from the public,” Crook said.

He added that businesses that can provide delivery services or other options avoiding crowds could continue to operate.  

“Some businesses may operate a delivery service and if they can satisfy themselves that they can operate safely and within government guidelines then that may be an option for them,” he said. “We have 10,000 fish and chip shops who are each able to feed thousands of people with a nutritious meal. If we are needed to provide any assistance in a humanitarian capacity, I know I can guarantee shops will be willing to reopen.”

Crook said the NFFF would reassess this advice on a weekly basis. 

“This is an awful situation for all, we will get through this and fish and chips will live on,” he said.

Meanwhile, Grimsby Fish Market is expected to suspend all sales after Thursday, 26 March, as many customers and local processors have put operations on hold. Whitefish supplies from Iceland have also been hit by coronavirus cases in important fishing regions.

Grimsby’s quayside facility will remain open for the landing and handling of presold supplies. 

This week, new lockdown measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the United Kingdom were laid out by prime minister Boris Johnson. These include people only being allowed to leave their homes to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work when absolutely necessary, to shop for essential items, and to fulfil any medical or care needs.

At the same time, shops selling non-essential goods have been told to shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together will be prohibited. Those people leaving their homes should also keep 2 meters away from people they do not live with.  

Photo courtesy of jessbench/Shutterstock 

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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