Reopening alfresco: The key things you need to know

Hospitality businesses will open up again to customers outdoors from 12th April and there’s a few new rules in place since the last time pubs, restaurants and other dine in establishments were open for business.

We’ve listed some of the key questions we’ve received over the last seven days.

Who’s allowed in to my establishment?

From Monday 12th April 2021, outdoor areas at hospitality venues can reopen to serve customers in groups of up to six people or from two separate households.

To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open while in use. Only table service will be allowed in beer gardens and restaurant terraces and businesses will be required to enforce Test & Trace protocols.

How do I adhere to Test & Trace procedures?

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording this information – including restaurants and pubs. These existing systems may be an effective means of collecting contact details. You can find relevant documents suitable for your business on our Covid Resources page. Remember, you must take down contact details of all members of a party over the age of 16. More info can be found on the website.

Any business that is found not to be compliant with these requirements will be subject to financial penalties. It is vital that you comply with these requirements to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open.​ Find out more about the NHS Test and Trace requirements.​

Indoor payments:

The Government confirmed on Friday that hospitality businesses can take payment indoors as a last resort – for example, technical difficulties upon taking payment.

“If you need to take payment indoors the customer should wear a face covering unless exempt, you should ensure only one customer is indoors at any time for the purpose of making payment, and you should operate a tab system to ensure that customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue.”

At venues that do not serve alcohol, customers are able to order and collect food and drink from a counter but must consume food and drink while seated at a table. Read the full guidance on the Gov website here 

For what reason can customers go inside?

Customers are allowed indoors to use toilets, baby changing rooms or breastfeeding rooms. Guests (and staff) should be wearing face coverings inside, although staff are exempt from enforcing this law. As stated above, only one customer should be indoors at any time for the purpose of making payment, and businesses should operate a tab system to ensure customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue.

How do I ensure my staff are Covid free?

The government has made free rapid home testing available for all businesses with more than 10 employees that cannot offer on-site testing. Companies have until 12th April to register for the scheme, which will last until June.

I’m still unsure…

If you’ve got any further questions regarding reopening, please contact us on 0300 124 6866, or alternatively, head to our website to take part in a live chat with an account manager. To keep up-to-date with all of the latest Covid news, resources and advice, visit our Coronavirus Hub.

Subscribe to our newsletter