Welsh hospitality to open outdoors in April

New guidance has been published for businesses and customers ahead of pubs reopening outdoors in Wales from Monday 26th April.

This includes restrictions on how many people can take up an outdoor table, guidance on collecting contact information from customers and current rules on the sale of alcohol.

Customers will be encouraged to pay outdoors where possible but indoor payment is allowed as well coming in to use the toilet.

Prepared after consultation between the Welsh Government and UK Hospitality, the new guidance is as follows:

  1. Each business must undertake, and have available on site, a specific Covid-19 full risk assessment, prepared in line with the Welsh Government and UK Hospitality industry guidance and staff must be consulted on the risk assessment.
  2. At the current time only outdoor hospitality can open and for all premises, the maximum number of people that can meet outdoors is up to 6 people from no more than 2 households. (not including children under 11).
  3. All regulated premises must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus, including taking all reasonable measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing requirements and other reasonable mitigations within the venue e.g. implementing mitigations between tables where it is not possible to maintain 2 metres of space and maximising ventilation.

Where up to 6 people from 2 different households are seated together at a table, every effort should still be made by the business and the customer to ensure that they maximise distance at the table.

Bookings should not knowingly be taken for more than 6 people from 2 households or more by separating the party onto different tables.

  1. In premises authorised to sell or supply alcohol (licensed premises) only, there must be controlled entry in respect of the sale or supply of food or drink for consumption outdoors.

Controlled entry includes pre-booking wherever possible with details of all members of the group taken as part of the booking and verified on arrival. “Walk-ups” should be kept to a minimum and subject to access through a controlled entry point with provision and verification of names of all members of the group at that point.

Any person working indoors to serve customers and customers themselves when entering must wear face coverings whilst in the indoor public space unless they have an exemption.

A queueing system that allows for 2m distancing must be in place and there must be signage at the entry point to advise of the face covering and distancing requirements.

  1. In all hospitality premises, licensed and non-licensed, it is mandatory to collect contact information for all staff and adult (over 18) customers or visitors. This means collecting the person’s name and telephone number, date of visit and arrival and departure time and retain them for 21 days. The NHS COVID-19 app does not substitute the above requirement and is not essential or mandated.
  2. In premises authorised to sell or supply alcohol (e.g. licensed premises), customers must be seated at all times outdoors (anywhere other than at a bar) when ordering food or drink, when being served with food and drink (table service only), and when consuming food and drink.

Licensed premises are encouraged to use smartphone apps for customers to pay for food to minimise contact between staff and customers

In the absence of the necessary infrastructure to take payment outside, a customer may pay inside at the counter, social distancing should be maintained. In unlicensed premises customers can order and pay at the counter subject to maintaining social distancing, but should consume food and drink at their table.

  1. All premises must ensure that where people are required to wait to enter the premises that a distance of 2 metres is maintained except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer.
  2. Staff should wear face coverings at all times unless they have an exemption from doing so. When moving about indoors, to walk through to the outdoor area or to go to the toilets, customers must always ensure they are wearing face coverings (unless exempt). Businesses should consider asking customers to wear face coverings at all times outdoors, except when seated at a table, however this is not mandatory.
  3. The obligation is on members of the public to adhere to the latest travel restrictions. Whilst businesses are not legally responsible for enforcing these requirements on their customers, they must not help customers break these restrictions.
  4. All businesses should set and display the maximum capacity for the premises and put in place measures for communicating and managing the maximum capacity set.
  5. All businesses must ensure customers are fully aware of their responsibilities for observing social distancing and all Covid-19 safety measures – using clear signage and other visual communications.
  6. All businesses must maximise ventilation and enhance airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) where possible.
  7. All businesses must, where possible, deploy fixed teams of staff to reduce interactivity between team members including setting a maximum staff number, or space per staff member, in kitchens to allow for social distancing whilst taking into account the cramped nature of many kitchens.
  8. Businesses should designate a named member or members of staff per shift(depending on number of covers) during all opening hours to monitor Covid-19 hygiene and enforcement of social distancing/safety protocols.
  9. Employers should appoint and engage with a staff representative, and trade union representative wherever possible, for all employee related Covid-19 issues.
  10. When utilising outdoor spaces, the use of physical coverings, awnings, gazebos or marquees should be implemented in such a way so as to ensure that they are aligned with current public health advice. The effects of sunlight, wind direction and intensity, social distance and effective handwashing should all be considered.

Specifically, if they are closed on all sides and roof/ceiling they are considered and treated as an internal environment, and should be treated as such. In contrast if they are open-sided (at least 3 sides or more than 51% open as per the Smoke-Free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020) they are to be considered and treated as an external environment. It is imperative that if marquees or similar are to be used they need to be part of the premises’ risk assessments included in cleaning regimes.

  1. Loud noises, which will require people to raise their voices or shout and therefore increase aerosol spread, must be avoided. To that end businesses should ensure that TV broadcasts and recorded music should be kept at background level. Dancing, singing and live performances are not permitted at this time.
  2. Businesses should avoid shared activities in hospitality venues that would entail people breaching the rules on outdoor gatherings e.g. skittles, darts, pool and other ‘pub games’ and would pose a hygiene risk.
  3. Access to indoor toilets will be allowed to on-sale customers only.
  4. Businesses are required to undertake a deep clean before any re-opening after a prolonged period of closure and to take account of potential legionella issues.
  5. All businesses should implement rigorous cleaning and hygiene practices in between bookings and as required during service, to keep their premises safe.
  6. Where licensed premises provide food on a buffet basis, food should be physically put on the plate by staff rather than customers. Customers may select food from the buffet, be served from the buffet zone and return to where they are seated provided a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons at the buffet.

What financial support is available to me?

For more information on what grants are available to Welsh businesses, click here.

Full guidance on the roadmap out of lockdown for Wales can be found here. If you’re unsure of anything, please contact our account managers on 0300 124 6866.

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