COVID-19: Business Information - Licensing and Enforcement
- Is there still a risk from COVID-19?
- Social distancing rules
- Rules for face coverings
- Rules for table service
- Music and singing
- Displaying QR codes
- Risk assessments
- Ventilation is important
- Communication is important
- Staff or customers with COVID-19 symptoms
- More information
The COVID-19 regulations effecting hospitality businesses has been lifted. The Government has issued guidance on how to operate after 19th July 2021. As a business operator you still have a responsibility to keep your staff and customers safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We have summarised the key points below, but you should look at the Government Guidance for more detail.
Yes, even people that have been double vaccinated can catch or carry the COVID-19 virus. The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person. The particles can also land on surfaces and be passed from person to person via touch.
In general, the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher:
- in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air
- in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
- people who are singing, dancing or raising their voices may breathe heavily and generate more particles, which increases the risk
All social distancing rules have been removed. There are no longer limits on groups sizes for indoor or outdoor settings and there are no COVID-19 capacity limits at venues.
You should still monitor your premises to ensure there is no overcrowding.
There is no legal requirement for anyone to wear a face covering. However, the government recommends that people wear face masks in crowded spaces.
You may decide to ask your staff to continue to wear face coverings to help protect themselves, other staff and your customers.
You may also decide to encourage customers to wear face coverings in indoor spaces to protect staff and other customers. You can make a business decision that customers and visitors must wear face coverings to enter your premises - but don’t forget that some people will be exempt for medical reasons and you must respect this.
If you make this decision you need to make sure it is communicated clearly to your customers.
There is no requirement for table service.
You can resume a bar service and customers can drink and eat standing, but you may wish to monitor this to make sure areas do not become congested or overcrowded.
There are no restrictions on music and singing, but be aware that people who are singing and dancing may breathe more heavily so think about ventilation and preventing overcrowding.
There is no legal requirement for you to display a QR code or for you to collect customers contact details. However, the Government encourages you to continue to do so as this will support NHS test and trace.
As a business operator, you still have a legal duty to manage risks to staff and customers.
The government says you should carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Their guidance sets out a range of mitigations you should consider including:
- cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
- identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the premises and taking steps to improve airflow
- ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
- communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place
There is more detailed information about how to reduce risks for customers and visitors in the government guidance for restaurants pubs and bars (external link).
Adequate ventilation reduces how much virus is in the air. It helps reduce the risk from aerosol transmission (when someone breathes in small particles in the air after a person with the virus has been in the same enclosed area).
Good ventilation is even more important if other measures, such as wearing face coverings and social distancing, are relaxed.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors can be used to identify poorly ventilated areas. People exhale CO2 when they breathe out. If there is a build-up of CO2 in an area it can indicate that ventilation needs improving.
You should communicate to your staff and customers what you have put in place to reduce risk. The public may be confused and there will be varying requirements in different premises based on their individual risk assessments.
Use clear signage or other means so that your customers understand your expectations.
If any staff have COVID-19 symptoms they should self isolate immediately and get a PCR test. They must also self isolate if told to do so by NHS test and trace - for example if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. You might want staff to regularly use the rapid self-tests that are easily available from pharmacists or to order online. They must report to the NHS if they test positive.
You should not permit customers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms into your premises.
If a staff member or customer tests positive for COVID-19 you could run the risk that all your staff will have to self isolate and stay at home. So having things in place, as recommended in the government guidance, should help to reduce this risk and keep your premises open.
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