News Real Bread Campaign

Covid caring and coping

What Real Bread bakeries and baking schools are doing to look after their customers, staff and other people in their local communities.

Unexpected bagging in bread area. Chris Young / CC-BY-SA 4.0

Unexpected bagging in bread area. Chris Young / CC-BY-SA 4.0

Last updated 17 March 2020

We may be updating this article as the situation develops, so please keep checking back.

NB This article is for information only. For official guidance and (where applicable) regulations relating to COVID-19 (AKA coronavirus), please visit the website of the government and other authorities where you live: See links at the bottom of this article.

The needs of a small bakery business and those of its customers, staff and other people in their local communities all intersect at various points but can be tricky for the owner to balance, even at the best of times. To state the bleedin' obvious - now is not the best of times...

If you run a bakery, baking school or other Real Bread business, please click here and take four minutes to let us know what you're doing differently, and what you'd like to see the government and the Real Bread Campaign doing, as a result of the current situation.

See also: COVID-19: our page for Real Bread bakers and customers

Common new measures

Here are some of the things that we have seen bakery and baking school owners doing:

Stepping up (already robust) hygiene procedures - more frequent hand washing, surface sanitising etc. – and training staff on this.

  • Asking customers to heed current official advice regarding handwashing and self-isolation, and not to visit the bakery / attend a class if they meet the self-isolation criteria.
  • Putting 70% alcohol hand sanitising gel near the door for customers.
  • Bagging up (usually unpackaged) bread etc.
  • Ensuring that only staff handle unwrapped products, rather than self-service displays
  • Offering vouchers to keep cash coming in from customer who can’t.

They are then posting signs and sending messages to customers on their mailing lists to reassure them of the extra steps they are taking for everyone’s health.

More steps

Other steps that particular bakeries and baking schools are taking include:

Baked in Tettenhall, England
Planning to offer a delivery service for local customers in self-isolation

The Bertinet Kitchen, Bath, England

  • Anyone who needs to self-isolate can cancel their booking and transfer to a class later in the year. 
  • Everyone who can and does attend a course before the end of April will get a £50 gift voucher in thanks for their support of this small business.

Cinnamon Square, Rickmansworth, England
Delivering to customers over 70 and/or in self-isolation

Flour & Spoon, Leigh on Sea, England
Delivering free coffee and pastries to customers over 70, leaving it on their doorsteps.

M’s Bakery, Bournemouth. England

  • Closing their seating area.
  • Asking customers to use contactless payments and to try to keep at least a metre away from other customers.

Ma Baker, London, England
Delivering bread, leaving loaves at the door (or other safe place) and taking payment by bank transfer.

Riot Rye, Cloughjordan, Ireland

  • Published a two-loaf Common Loaf sourdough recipe - one to eat and one to give away, eg to someone who can’t get out
  • Looking at running online baking courses

The Sourdough Kitchen, The Wirral, England
Offering free local delivery of bread kits, flour packs and sourdough starter to help people on the Wirral make their own bread at home.

Kim Bell of Small Food Bakery in Notingham wrote: "Acknowledging the anxiety that this whole panic has created is probably one of the most important things we need to do as business leaders and community figures. Kindness, calm, steadfastness, and measured / thoughtful response are important. looking out for my team and wider bakery community and avoiding joining the social media circus are at the top of my priority list right now."

British Baker collected these comments from the Real Bread Campaign supporters who own and run Lovingly Artisan, Seasons Bakery, The Orange Bakery, Sugardough and The Flour Pot Bakery.

British Baker also put together these Q&A for bakeries, while Bakery Business has published advice from a solicitor.

Official information and guidance

In the UK, the main sources are the government and the NHS:

Outside the UK

The Real Bread Campaign has supporters in around 20 countries, some of whom operate bakeries. Here are links for the countries in which we have the most supporters outside the UK:

Australia: Department of Health
Canada: Government site / Trade Commissioner Service
Ireland: Government site / Department of Health updates
USA: Center for Disease Control and Prevention / Small Business Administration

See also

Published Monday 16 March 2020

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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