We have summarized here the key government guidance as well as other useful resources for food businesses, charities, community groups as well as anyone keen to support them to get through this crisis. If you have any resources you think we should add, please let us know.

Latest updates on 24th June 2020:

  • Restaurants, pubs and cafes in England will be allowed to reopen on 4th July, provided they follow safety guidelines which are available here.
  • All hospitality indoors will be table service only, and contact between staff and customers will be limited. Customers will also have to give contact details when they enter a pub or restaurant.
  • Businesses will be expected to monitor crowd density in their premises, including at pinch points such as doorways.
  • More details at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52530518
  • The new distancing guideline from 4th July where 2 metres is NOT possible will be 1 metre plus.

Always follow the latest guidance from the Government, NHS and Public Health England:




Support Local Farms and Food Businesses

Bitten Oxford are maintaining a list of food & drink deliveries and takeaways as well as a list of newly re-opened restaurants, pubs and cafes in Oxford.

Independent Oxford have come up with five great ideas for things we can all do to support local businesses, including buying vouchers instead of eating out and shopping online from local producers and local food delivery services.

Sustain have published an article on Five ways to support farmers in the time of COVID-19.

And the Oxford Mail calls businesses that want to be featured in #StillOpenInOxfordshire campaign to promote local businesses that are still open to get in touch.

Resources for food retailers, restaurants, cafes and new delivery services

Please get in touch if you require further guidance for your food takeaway & delivery operations, and if you need help with deliveries contact Pedal and Post

Open Food Network logo

If you are looking for new ways of organising online orders and deliveries for your food business efficiently, take a look at the open source sales software from Open Food Network UK.

Official guidance for all food businesses

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders.

The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has a dedicated page with guidance on COVID 19 including links to government support schemes for small and medium enterprises.

Farmers’ and Community Markets

While several farmers and community markets have had to shut temporarily, some are still operating. Please check your local market’s website or social media for updates. For market operators, Sustainable Food Cities have published a comprehensive digest of COVID-19 guidance for food markets. And Open Food Network have a useful checklist for moving your market online here.

Any markets who may be considering online orders/delivery services please contact the Farm Retail Association for a useful support pack.

FEA have launched a new LEAP: Small emergency loan programme, providing critical funds to the food sector during the Covid-19 crisis.

Food Access for Schools & Families

New Guidance on the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund for schools & local authorities on providing free school meals vouchers is available now to support pupils eligible for free school meals over the summer holidays during COVID-19.

Parents can check if they are eligible here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals

More information for parents is available in an info sheet by Project 17 and from EdenRed.

Emergency Food Supply

We have updated the Oxfordshire Food Access Services database and map to cover all of Oxfordshire. What you can do to contribute:

  • Add a new food access service
  • Donate surplus food
  • Access food from a foodbank, community fridge or other food distribution service
  • Share the link to the map widely: goodfoodoxford.org/foodmap
Food services map banner

Sustain have published a statement on emergency food access, asking whether food banks and other food aid providers serving the most vulnerable people in the UK may have to close due to the coronavirus lockdown. We are in constant conversation with the Oxfordshire Foodbank Forum and the local authorities about what is needed to ensure food access for all through this difficult period.

Use the hashtag #OxFoodShare on social media to highlight current needs and offers around food distribution across Oxfordshire.

Community Initiatives

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many vulnerable people in Oxford needing support to get urgent supplies of food and medicine. In response, several community initiatives have been organised.

Oxford Hub and Oxford City Council are coordinating the initiative Oxford Together, where you can sign up to be a community champion and help with the Coronavirus response on this form

The new online portal Covid-19 Mutual Aid has a list of autonomous, self-organised local groups who have . Groups have their own local priorities and focus, and new groups are being added all the time. Oxford Mutual Aid has a group here and you can sign up through this form.

Update in May 2020: The Oxford Mutual Aid Kitchen Collective started distributing hot meals in collaboration with chefs and commercial kitchens. Read more

Oxford City Council has set up a city-wide series of Local Response Hubs to help those most in need with urgent supplies of medicine or food, picking up shopping, connecting to a support group and other support. In order to get help for yourself or someone you are concerned about either call Oxford City Council on 01865 249 811 or complete this online form.

Oxfordshire’s Local Authorities have put together a practical infection control guidance for people in contact with vulnerable groups and/or people who are self-isolating. Download here and do contact your local Council’s Environmental Health Officers if you are in any doubt about your operations.

Support for Charities and Community Groups

  • Advice, Information and Support across Oxfordshire for Voluntary/ Community Groups are available from OCVA.
  • Good advice for volunteering from Volunteer Scotland
  • Government guidance for voluntary & community organisations and social enterprises
  • A good example of a Covid-19 policy for a small charity can be found on the Oxford Gatehouse website here.
  • CAG Oxfordshire have compiled a live document with advice for CAGs dealing with business implications of Covid-19
  • Oxfordshire Community Foundation has launched a Coronavirus Resilience Fund for Oxfordshire. Read more
  • The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership OxLEP have launched a new Covid-19 business resilience fund to support small businesses in Oxfordshire. The deadline for applications is 5th June 2020. Read more
  • A number of Community Foundations and other organisations have launched funding programmes to assist local organisations in responding to the challenges of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Read more 

The Food Standards Agency published a guide on food safety for community cooking and foodbanks and Oxford City Council has guidance for foodbanks and community groups organising food distribution. Download the resource pack [zip file 1MB]

As part of the Resource Action Fund, DEFRA and WRAP have launched a £3.25m fund to support not-for-profit surplus food redistributor operating in England: COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant

Allotments and Community Gardens

Guidance for allotments on the Oxford and District Federation of Allotment Associations website

Guidance for community gardens on how to stay open safely from Good to Grow, from Capital Growth, Social Farms and Gardens UK, and a webinar presentation with great advice on growing food during Covid-19 from Sustain.