Hospitality Sector to re-open on 4th July

It has been long awaited but at last some good news for the sector. The Prime Minister has finally announced on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 that bars, hotels, restaurants, hotels and other licensed premises can re-open from 4th July 2020.

Government guidance on safe re-opening

Follow – up Guidance to this announcement was published this morning

The Guidance is 43 pages long and sets out how operators should tackle re-opening safely.

It is split into 8 broad sections:

  • Risk
  • Keeping Customers and Visitors Safe both at the venue and takeaway/delivery
  • Who Should Return to Work
  • Social Distancing for Workers
  • Cleaning the Workplace
  • PPE and face coverings
  • Workforce Management
  • Inbound and Outbound Goods

The Guidance is comprehensive in setting out mitigating steps operators are advised to implement to guard against the transmission of COVID – 19 between both staff and customers.

Social distancing

Crucially the 2m social distancing rule has been relaxed to 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable. Risk mitigation measures include;

  • Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
  • Using screens or barriers to separate workers from each other and workers from customers at points of service.
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

(so each person works with only a few others).

Test and Trace – record of customers

There is also an expectation that operators will support the NHS Test and Trace scheme by keeping a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for the business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.  Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their customers and visitors – including restaurants and hotels . If you do not already do this, the Government has pledged to work with industry and relevant bodies to design a system in line with data protection legislation, and intends to set out further details shortly.

No live performances

Indoor gatherings should still only be occurring in groups of up to two households (including support bubbles) while outdoor gatherings should only be occurring in groups of up to two households (or support bubbles), or a group of at most six people from any number of households. Sites are still prohibited from allowing live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience.

So although sites may look and feel different on July 4th, they will at least be open again.

If you would like any assistance in reviewing the Guidance and deciding exactly what it means for your business please do not hesitate to contact one of our team.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.