With the inclement Spring weather showing no signs of easing up, the opening of indoor hospitality on 17th May is a day we are all looking forward to – as an operator or consumer!
What is also very welcome, is the Government has finally released its guidance for restaurants and pubs ahead of Step 3 of Boris’ roadmap out of lockdown.
From larger group sizes to relaxation of rules around live performances, there are still many rules operators need to be aware of to ensure they meet the COVID safe regulations and don’t fall foul of the law.
Here, our team of Food Alert experts summarised the main updates following the Government announcement. These should be read in line with our full reopening guide.
1. Table service
Table service is still required for venues serving alcohol, even if no alcohol is ordered. This means customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated. If a venue doesn’t sell alcohol, customers can order and collect food and beverages from a counter, but they must be seated to eat and drink.
2. Party sizes
Groups of six or two households of any size will be allowed indoors, and up to 30 people outdoors.
3. Live performances, business events and soft play areas
There will be some relaxation of rules around live performances, business events and soft play areas. For live performances and business events there will be a cap on attendance and they should be ticketed:
- 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower indoors.
- 4,000 people or 50% or a venue’s capacity, which is lower outdoors.
- Any event should be held in a separate room from regular food and drink customers to prevent mixing with event attendees.
The number of people allowed to attend funerals has already been relaxed. The onus of responsibility for party size is now down to the venue and how many people it can safely accommodate, while allowing for social distancing between each household. This relaxation doesn’t apply to weddings and other life events, where limits on the number of people that can attend remain in place as set out in the government’s roadmap.
Despite certain relaxations, the rules around enhanced hygiene, NHS Track & Trace and importantly COVID-19 Risk Assessments are still very much part of the hospitality operational mix. When we emerged from previous lockdowns, we were aware of increased venue spot checks from the authorities with operators facing heavy fines and even closure in exceptional circumstances. There is no reason to believe it won’t be the same this time around.
With so much to think about, pulling everything together to be COVID-19 compliant is a huge task. That’s why at Food Alert, our team of safety experts has created the COVID-19 Certification standard, designed specifically to help hospitality operators get back on their feet and back to business.
The scheme verifies if all COVID measures – from cleaning schedules to social distancing – have been successfully applied in a business. On completion, venues are awarded a ‘COVID-19 Standard’ certificate and sticker to display to prove they are operating the highest COVID secure, hygiene and safety standards.
If you’d like the support of our expert team, simply give us a call on 020 7244 1900 or get in touch with us online and we’ll be happy to discuss your COVID-19 needs and general compliance requirements.