Covid-19: measures and organisation of catering in business

In view of the current health situation, companies must comply with a number of measures. Corporate catering is one of them. Most of these measures, which have been in place for the past year, are designed to protect employees from the risks associated with Covid-19. This means information, prevention and integration. Indeed, the restoration represents a latent moment when the wearing of the mask cannot be respected. Thus, given the spread of the virus and its variants, the Ministry of Labour has strengthened the distance measures. They now stand at 2 meters between each employee.

In addition, in order to slow the spread of the virus in companies, employees now have the opportunity to eat within the confines of their work. A practice not authorized by the Labour Code in normal times, it is now accepted to reduce the risk of contamination.

Restoration in business, new measures

Collective catering in business is not prohibited. Indeed, places dedicated to catering are mandatory to allow employees to eat outside the place dedicated to work. Nevertheless, the current health crisis situation, with the emergence of different variants of the virus on French territory, forces the government to review the measures established. Indeed, it is now obligatory to respect a distance of 2 meters between each person if the wearing of the mask is not possible. This is the case during times of restoration. In addition, the gauge is set at 8m2 for one person. This greatly increases the space needed. For example, certain measures such as the development of break times or the establishment of traffic directions are still in effect. It is also obligatory to notify the employees of the company of the new measures taken, for optimal compliance.

covid measures distancing restoration company
Social distance during the lunch break requires accommodation in corporate restaurants.

In addition, the reception of employees for catering in companies must also be reviewed. Indeed, eating alone or within the limit of 4 people around the same table, while respecting the 2 meters distance is mandatory. For example, it is best to have lunch with colleagues from the same service to avoid social mixing. Business lunches are also suspended due to the health risk this entails.

Then, it is best to prepare the meal trays upstream to avoid manipulation on the part of the employees. Indeed, salad bars and other objects that may be touched by several people are prohibited. Finally, the aeration of the space is mandatory as well as the cleaning of the surfaces. Tables must be cleaned and disinfected after each employee.

Easing the rules on employee lunchtime breaks

According to Article R. 4228-19 of the Labour Code, employees are prohibited from eating out in work premises. Employers are therefore obliged to prohibit this. Thus, employees must then eat their meals in places dedicated solely to catering in business.

However, this ban has been relaxed in light of the health context. In order to promote social distance, employees are now allowed to have lunch in the workplace. This measure will be possible for companies with more than 50 employees, and if of course the social distance guidelines can be respected. This does not necessarily mean that employees will have to eat on their workstations. In this way, the employer can provide space for this purpose, while ensuring that distance measures can be applied.

Thus, this decision was taken with the aim of minimizing the risk of contamination for employees who cannot be teleworked. Since telework is highly favoured, some cannot stay at home to practice their profession. In addition, the rules of distancing have been tightened, they now settle at 2 meters between each person. The maximum gauge is now 8m2 per person.

The measures currently in place are not fixed. Indeed, they can change depending on the health situation. Employers must therefore be mindful of any new regulations by the Ministry of Labour.

Sources:

Covid-19: organisation and operation of corporate restaurants,Ministry of Labour, Employment and Integration, 04 February 2021

National Protocol to Ensure the Health and Safety of Employees in Business in the Face of the COVID-19 Epidemic,Ministry of Labour, Employment and Integration, updated on 16 February 2021

Labour Code Article R. 4228-19, LegiFrance

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