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Latest guidance for hospitality

The government has updated its guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways.

This guidance sets out the restrictions that certain businesses and venues in England are required to follow, as below:

Areas under Tier 1: Medium alert

In areas under Tier 1: Medium alert:

  • any social gatherings of more than 6 people will be against the law – exemptions apply.
  • businesses must not accept a table booking for a group of more than 6 individuals or admit a group of more than 6 people, unless there is a qualifying exemption
  • businesses must take reasonable steps to prevent separate groups from mingling with each other within indoor and outdoor settings
  • businesses selling food or drink (including cafés, bars, pubs, restaurants and takeaways) must be closed between 11pm and 5am, with last orders for food and drink having been placed by 10pm. Delivery services (including drive-through service) are exempt and can continue after 10pm provided they are not allowing customers on the premises. Bars and cafés within open premises, such as hotels or theatres, must also close at 11pm with last orders for food and drink having been placed by 10pm. Venues inside ports, transport services and motorway service areas are not required to close between 11pm and 5pm, but must not sell alcohol after 10pm.
  • in venues which sell alcohol, food and drink must be ordered by, and served to, customers who are seated. This means that a business that sells alcohol must introduce systems to take orders from seated customers, instead of at a bar or counter. This applies to both indoor and outdoor settings
  • all businesses selling food or drink must ensure that customers only consume food or drink while seated. This means that in unlicensed premises, food and drink can be purchased at a counter, but customers must sit down to consume it, even in outdoor settings

Areas under Tier 2: High alert

In areas under Tier 2: High alert, restrictions from Tier 1: Medium alert apply.

The following restrictions also apply:

  • individuals can only meet in indoor settings with other members of their own household or support bubble
  • businesses must only accept indoor bookings for individuals from one household or support bubble
  • businesses must take reasonable steps to prevent individuals from separate households or bubbles from mingling with each other in indoor settings
  • venues must close unless they operate as if they were a restaurant. This means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • businesses that do not ordinarily serve food may enter into a contracting arrangement in order that they are able to do so and remain open. However, allowing customers to bring food into the premises that had been purchased elsewhere in order to consume alcohol remains prohibited

Areas under Tier 3: Very High alert

In areas under Tier 3: Very High alert:

  • businesses selling food and drink (including alcohol) must close, but can sell food and non-alcoholic drinks through takeaway, click-and-collect, drive through or delivery. Businesses can only sell alcohol through click-and-collect, drive through and delivery to customers who order it in advance via phone, internet, mobile app or post
  • businesses should ensure that customers who collect pre-ordered food or drink do not enter the premises to collect their orders. Where possible businesses should take payment prior to collection of an order to limit contact between customers and staff
  • businesses may serve food and non-alcoholic drinks to customers to takeaway in the premises between 5am and 10pm

The government has also published an eight-step plan to protect yourself, staff and customers during coronavirus.

Eight steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  3. Remind your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law, for instance using signage or a verbal reminder. However, you are not responsible for enforcing customer face covering law. This is an important reminder to help mitigate transmission. It is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your customers can follow. Enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart.
  5. Consider ventilationRead advice on air conditioning and ventilation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  6. You must take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. This is a legal requirement. Some exemptions apply. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.
  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating. Employers must not require someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. Any employer asking an employee to break self-isolation to work is committing an offence.
  8. Consider the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19 for yourself and others. The government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Three more things to be aware of if your business is a restaurant, pub, bar or takeaway:

  • Keep groups apart. Space out tables, consider using barriers between groups, and manage the number of customers in the venue. This is required by law. Manage the number of customers in the venue.
  • Manage food and drink service safely. Avoid situations where customers need to collect their own cutlery and condiments. Avoid contact between staff and customers.
  • Lower music and other background noise. Prevent shouting, singing and dancing in the venue by making sure music and broadcasts are played at a low volume.

For more information on completing risk assessments, track and trace forms and more, plus guidance on how to take the necessary actions to protect staff and customers at your business, visit our Covid-19 Compliance Resources page.


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