Covid-19 secure guidance for restaurants, pubs bars and takeaway
The government published its latest guidance on “Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services” on 24th June 2020, following confirmation that pubs, bars & restaurants would be able to re-open from 4th July provided that they are Covid-Secure. The latest government guidance is available at the below link and we strongly advise you to read the guidance in full to ensure you comply and can declare your outlet “Covid-Secure”: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery
A key change from 4th July is to the social distancing guidelines or “2 metre rule.” From 4th July the guidelines are:
“2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable”
The mitigating actions where a minimum of 1m social distancing is necessary 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)
- Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment
- In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19
Key points from the latest government guidance:
- All employers must carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment – considering the risks to their workers and customers and doing everything reasonably practicable to minimise them. You must consult on, and share, the results of your risk assessment with your staff and colleagues. It is important both to provide evidence and communicate that you have risk assessed your premises. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and the Government would expect all employers with over 50 workers to do so)
- Managing risk – operators should reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures including ensuring that workers & clients who feel unwell stay at home, increasing the frequency of handwashing & surface cleaning and making every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines. You should share the results of your risk assessment and confirm your site is Covid-Secure by prominently displaying the notice provided in the government guidance on your website if you have one and/or in a visually prominent place in your site.
- Record of customers & visitors required – the opening up of the economy is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business. More details to follow from the government on a system which can help you here
- Group sizes – indoor gatherings should 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. It is against the law to gather in groups of more than 30 people, except for the limited circumstances as set out in law
There is an ongoing need to monitor the measures taken to make sure that they continue to protect customers and staff.
In order to keep customers and visitors safe, the government guidelines suggest a number of “steps that will usually be needed.” Key points include:
- Capacity – calculate the maximum number of people that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines in your outlet(s). The British Beer & Pub Association has said: The consistent phrasing regarding social distancing throughout is “2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable”. We assume that this means that the baseline expectation is still 2m, but allowing 1m plus mitigations where 2m is not possible. This indicates that 1m without mitigations should not occur and should not be used as a basis for planning.
- Layout – reconfigure indoor & outdoor seating and tables to maintain social distancing guidelines. Also, consider flow through the venue e.g. queue management, 1 way flow where possible etc.
- Processes – work with your local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of your processes, including queues, on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks
- Communication – provide clear guidance on social distancing & hygiene to people on arrival (e.g. signage, visual aids) and before arrival (e.g. phone, website, email). Also, reminding customers with children of their responsibility to supervise their children at all times and follow social distancing guidelines
- Managing entry of customers and number of customers at the venue – consider reservation systems, social distancing markings, having customers queue at a safe distance for toilets, bringing payment machines to customers etc.
- Hygiene – encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser or hand washing facilities as they enter
- Planning for adverse weather – ensure you are planning for maintaining social distancing guidelines in the event of adverse weather conditions – being clear that customers cannot seek shelter indoors unless social distancing can be maintained
- Signage – using social distance markings to remind customers to maintain social distancing
- Table service – indoor table service must be used where possible, alongside further measures such as assigning a single staff member per table. Outdoor table service should also be encouraged, although customers are permitted to stand outside if distanced appropriately. Where bar or counter service is unavoidable, customers should be prevented from remaining at the bar or counter after ordering.
- Serving food – minimise customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments. Encourage use of contactless ordering from tables where available (e.g. ordering app) and adjusting service approaches to minimise staff contact with customers (e.g. indoor table service where possible and if you need customers to come to the bar, preventing customers from remaining at the bar after ordering)
- Payment – encouraging contactless payments where possible and adjusting the location of card readers to social distancing guidelines
- Customer contact – minimise contact between front of house workers and customers at points of service where appropriate e.g. screens or tables at tills and counters to maintain distance
- Toilets – signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique and the need for increased frequency of handwashing are recommended. The use of social distance markings in areas where queues normally form and the adoption of a limited entry approach (1 out, 1 in) should also be considered. Cleaning frequency should be increased in line with usage and the facilities should be kept well ventilated
- Staff – plan for the minimum number of people needed to operate safely and effectively and fix teams or shift groups wherever possible. Staff must also maintain social distancing wherever possible – floor markings to signal social distancing may help. Provide handwashing facilities, or hand sanitiser where not possible, at entry and exit points. Request staff to change into work uniforms on site and decrease their movement around venues, by discouraging non-essential trips e.g. encouraging use of radios, telephones or other electronic devices when sending orders to kitchens, allowing kitchen access to as few people as possible etc. Also consider staff method of travel to work and ensure any staff who use public transport wear a face covering as is legally required
- Entertainment – no live performances are currently allowed, which includes comedy, drama and music acts in front of a live audience. You should also take steps to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other (because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission)