We examine the government's advice on reopening pubs and restaurants safely

September 4, 2020

The government document is comprised of 8 sections. We discuss the guidance for restaurants, pubs and takeaways looking to re-open.

1) All employers must carry out a covid-19 risk assessment

Before restaurants open to the public, owners must assess the possible risks to customers of contracting covid-19. Help is available in the Health and Safety Executive’s interactive guide to creating a risk assessment.

Measures to reduce risk are necessary, and include:

  • Making sure workers and customers who feel unwell stay at home
  • Increased frequency of hand-washing and surface cleaning
  • Using screens or barriers to separate workers from other workers and customers
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working when possible
  • Using ‘fixed teams’ to ensure people are working with a reduced number of co-workers

2) Restaurants and pubs must take extra measures to keep customers safe

Here’s what pubs and restaurants re-opening need to do when re-opening:

  • Keep temporary records of customers and visitors for twenty one days (this will help contain clusters of outbreaks)
  • Limit indoor gatherings to groups of up to two households (including support bubbles)
  • Limit outdoor gatherings to groups of up to two households, including support bubbles, or groups of up to six people from different households
  • Limit total gatherings to less than thirty people
  • Respect social distancing of 2m (or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not possible)
  • Discourage customers from queueing indoors and enabling outdoor queueing where possible, with minimum disruption to surrounding businesses (e.g. routing behind furniture or other barriers)
  • Stagger opening hours to avoid long queues
  • Display clear guidance for customers with signage at the venue and instructions on your website
  • Keep indoor and soft play areas closed
  • Conduct contractor visits and other service visits during downtimes
  • Encourage contactless payments
  • No live entertainment such as music, quizzes, or sports broadcasts
  • No loud background music (or anything that would encourage customers to have to shout or raise their voices)
  • No dancing (dance floors can be repurposed for customer seating)

3) Keeping workers at home where possible

As more restaurants open, those workers who can work from home should continue to do so.

Measures to protect those workers who need to come into the venue should be included in the risk assessment.

4) Extra measures for social distancing for workers

In addition to the guidelines already mentioned above, social distancing measures apply in break rooms, canteens, entrances, and exits.

These areas are typically more difficult for people to stay apart; therefore, here’s what can help:

  • Staff reminders, including signage
  • Staggered arrival and departure times
  • Storage facilities for clothes and other belongings so that workers can change into their uniforms on site
  • Increased cycle racks to encourage walking or cycling rather than public transport

5) Cleaning the workplace and keeping it clean

Guidance for pubs re-opening, restaurants and takeaways includes:

  • Thorough cleaning and assessment of the venue
  • Propping doors open (except fire doors) to reduce touchpoints
  • Cleaning surfaces and objects between each customer use (trays, chairs, laminated menus, etc.)
  • Maintaining or increasing proper ventilation (doors and windows open where possible)

6) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

Outside of a clinical setting (such as a hospital), there is no need to use any additional PPE. Social distancing and other measures are what is needed.

If your food establishment is in a clinical setting, you can consult the guidelines here.

For other pubs and restaurants re-opening outside of a clinical setting, if your protocol dictates the use of PPE, it is the owner’s responsibility to provide it for employees. Face coverings can be very simple and only need to cover the mouth and nose, and may be useful where social distancing isn’t possible.

Remind employees that wearing face coverings is a requirement when using public transport in England.

7) Workforce management

These measures include:

  • Keeping staff in the same team or shift
  • Using a one-way system to reduce congestion
  • Keeping a record of staff shift patterns for twenty one days (to assist the NHS Test and Trace)
  • Cleaning shared vehicles between shifts
  • Ongoing communication and signage

8) Inbound and outbound goods

Where possible, encourage:

  • One person to load and unload vehicles, or the same pair of people each time
  • Drivers to stay in their vehicles
  • One-way flow of traffic in stockrooms
  • A reduction in the number of deliveries

Further Details

You can consult the full document of government guidance here.