Skip to content

Covid 19: Social Distancing and On-Farm Diversification

Before the 23rd March 2020, “Social Distancing” was not part of our everyday vocabulary.  Collin’s Dictionary lists “Social Distancing” as a new inclusion and defines it as “measures taken to minimize contact between members of the public, especially in order to contain the spread of a contagious illness”.

Specific measures taken by the UK and Scottish Government to reduce the spread of Covid-19 are that:

  • where possible people should reduce social interaction with people, and
  • when out with their own homes stay 2 metres apart from anyone outside their own household,

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible when they are each legally allowed to re-open.  The guidance covers 8 different types of work, the first 6 of which relate to different types of on-farm diversification:

  1. Shops and Branches.
  2. Restaurants offering Take-away or Deliveries.
  3. Construction and other Outdoor Work.
  4. Vehicles
  5. Other People’s Homes.
  6. Offices and Contact Centres.
  7. Laboratories and Research facilities.
  8. Factories, Plants and Warehouses.

To allow diversified businesses to be able to re-open as soon as it is legal, safe and practical to do so, businesses should start to prepare their own practical guides which demonstrate that the business is fully aware of the legislation regarding social distancing and has taken all the practical steps necessary to ensure the safety of their staff and their customers/guests/visitors.

Practical steps could include:

All Diversified Enterprises

  • Ensuring staff and customers/guests are a minimum 2 metres away from each other at all times – this may require the use of measured floor makers and/or temporary physical barriers.
  • Limiting the number of clients allowed to enter a premises to comply with the social distancing rules.
  • Where possible, introduce a one way system for vehicles and more importantly, people.
  • Revising car parking arrangements to ensure that the 2 metre, social distancing rule is adhered to when people are exiting and accessing their cars.
  • Providing easily accessible hand washing facilities and/or hand sanitisers.
  • Having defined cleaning/disinfecting procedures.
  • Implementing Government guidance with regards the need for face masks/visors and gloves.
  • Reviewing the existing health and safety policy to ensure that staff/customers/visitors/guests are protected from Covid-19 in the event of having to deal with an accident.


In addition to the measures listed above, in order to seek to maximise potential income for different types of diversification, consideration should be given to:

  1. Farm Shops
  • Selling produce online.
  • Offering a delivery service.
  • Offering ‘boxed meals’ e.g. fresh meat and a selection of vegetables; barbecue; fresh fruit, cream and meringues; a selection of cheese, biscuits and chutney; and/or a morning/afternoon tea selection of cakes and scones (plus cream and jam).
  1. Cafes
  • Offering a takeaway service.
  • Offering a delivery service.
  • Creating an outdoor seating area (if not already in existence) whereby tables sizes can be limited to small family groups and are be spaced more than 2 metres apart.
  1. Outdoor Activity Centres/Camping, Caravans & Wigwams)
  • Having staggered start times for activities to minimise the number of people waiting at reception/queues.
  • Installing more signage to re-enforce social distancing.
  • Creating new pathways so that guests starting and finishing an activity can be kept apart.
  • Offer incentives for family groups from one household.
  • Marking out socially distant pitches for caravans and tents.
  • Moving Wigwams so that guests do not cross the social distancing space of other wigwam users.
  • Creating individual ‘homesteads’ for each wigwam/caravan/tent by planting hedging or installing fencing to ensure that all guests know where their ‘personal’ space starts and ends. If space and ground conditions allow, this could include car parking.   These can then be a feature of the businesses online advertising campaigns.
  1. Vehicles
  • Where farm vehicles are being used, ideally, limit their use to one person or identify a dedicated ‘Gofer’ to limit the need for multiple staff using one vehicle.
  • Ensuring that each vehicle is equipped with hand sanitisers, disinfectant wipes, and disposable gloves.
  • Ensuring that all staff and guests wear masks/visors/gloves if it is necessary to use a vehicle for a specific activity e.g. off road vehicle tours.
  • Keeping windows open where practical.
  1. Other People’s Homes (applicable to self-catering and B & B)
  • Having staggered arrival and departure times.
  • For Bed and Breakfast guests, stagger breakfast times if it is not possible to sit guests the required distance apart in the dining room or if practical, offer a ‘Breakfast in Room’ option or weather permitting an ‘Alfresco dining’ option.
  • Having a documented policy available online and in each room/property with regards the business’s cleaning and disinfecting policy.
  • Introducing key card style entry for properties/bedrooms as the ‘keys’ will be easier to disinfect compared to standard metal keys.
  1. Offices and Conference Centres
  • Ensuring office staff can work 2 metres apart at all times.
  • Installing protecting screen to separate staff from guests and delivery drivers.
  • Having staggered arrival and departure times for conference guests.
  • Reducing hospitality for conference guests to pre-packaged biscuits, instant coffee sachets, bottled water and limiting lunches to one or two hot food options.
  • ‘Break out’ sessions should only be allowed if outdoor space/seating is available.

 For further information on current Social Distancing Regulations, please click on the relevant country:

Sign up to the FAS newsletter

Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service