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Covid-19 – The New Rules Your Questions Answered

Government advice on COVID-19 for hospitality

N.B: There have been significant changes announced recently across the UK and we still seeking clarification on many of the uncertainties around these rapid changes. This information is as accurate as possible at the time of writing 23/09/20.

Due to the Covid-19 alert level rising from 3 to 4, new measures have been announced. As with all Government Covid-19 updates, there follows the implementation of new measures, we are here to help you navigate them at this challenging time and have put together guidance addressing questions that our members have put to us following the most recent announcement.

We would urge you to operate in a safe, legal and responsible way and that you communicate this with your customers – we all need to work together to secure the future of our sector.

Here are the key measures set out for our sector:

  • Track and Trace
  • 10pm Curfew
  • Table Service
  • Masks & Face Coverings

Track and Trace:

Applies to all

The new NHS Track and Trace app guidance directs your indoor business to sign up for an official QR code, you are required to do this and can do so here. You are then required to download a poster and display it which directs your customers to scan the QR code using the NHS Track & Trace app.

At present this does not mean that your current Track & Trace method is invalid are you should continue to collect data from the lead person in each group of your customers. We have created a form for members here and we know that many businesses are using a range of platforms to collect data – these still stand and we will be updating you with additional clarifications to your questions as these come back to us from the Government Department we work closely with; BEIS.

At present, takeaway and mobile are not included in the annex of settings that require Track & Trace.

However, you choose to collect customer data, the key thing is that you are collecting it and that your solution works based on your individual requirements.

Table Service:

Applies to England, Wales & Scotland  

If you are a licensed venue, you are required to provide table service. This is straight forward when it comes to fixed site businesses, but if you are a mobile caterer operating in a pub for example and customers are eating in then you should implement table service however, it is not clear who is responsible for table service and track and trace in this scenario, so we would advise that you discuss, agree and contract this with the venue you are working with so it is clear who the responsibility lies with.

There is, however, an exemption for takeaways & sites without seating and we are awaiting clarification on this.

*** 6.22pm – The Government have clarified that hospitality settings without an alcohol licence will not need to serve customers at tables ***

Remember, click and collect, delivery and takeaway models are still viable options but you must manage queues, timings and hold hygiene in the highest priority – You can find out how to pivot your business safely and associated resources here.

10pm Curfew:

Applies to England, Wales (From Thursday) Scotland (from Friday)

Your customers should be off site by 10pm, this does not apply to staff who will be working to clean & close down the site. If you are operating a delivery service after 10pm you can continue to do so but via an online or telephone service – customers can not walk in and buy after 10pm.

Facemasks:

Applies to England, Wales & Scotland, Northern Ireland

Your customers should wear a facemask or coverings in your premises everywhere but when they are sitting down to eat or drink indoors.

Staff should wear masks as well as customers indoors, but it is unclear whether this rule is just for front of house staff and we are seeking clarity. You may need to discuss this with your Local Authority and if you are unsure of the advice you are given please let us know.

If you are a working outside, in a food truck, from a gazebo, serving from a hatch or have a screen between yourselves and your customers, please be advised that it does not explicitly include this  in the newest guidance on face masks and – you may need to speak to your local EHO and that advice may differ between Local Authorities which is why we have asked for clarification from Government.

We understand that it is frustrating not to have all the answers to your questions and that there are many different scenarios to consider but please rest assured that we are doing everything we can to ensure these clarifications are communicated to you as soon as possible.

Additional measures and information:

Wales

  • Sales of alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets after 22:00 will also be stopped

Scotland

  • All hospitality staff must wear facemasks (we have asked for clarification on outdoor settings)
  • Book ahead
  • Stay seated

Northern Ireland  – Hospitality guidance