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Covid-19 advice for businesses

Latest requirements and guidance for businesses

New legal requirements regarding COVID-19

Hospitality premises must close from 10pm

The new Government Legal Requirements state that from 24th September businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, and adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. Delivery services (including drive-through service) are exempt and can continue after 10pm provided they are not allowing customers on the premises. Bars and cafés within open premises, such as hotels or theatres, must also close at 10pm.

Table service

  • In venues which sell alcohol, food and drink must now be ordered by, and served to, customers who are seated. This means that a business that sells alcohol must introduce systems to take orders and payment from seated customers, instead of at a bar or counter. This has been introduced to prevent crowding and social contact in licensed premises.

  • All businesses selling food or drink must now ensure that customers only consume food or drink while seated. This means that in unlicensed premises, food and drink can be purchased at a counter, but customers must sit down to consume it, even in outdoor settings.

Face coverings must be worn

Staff – Employers must ensure all staff of venues that provide food and drink wear face coverings in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public, unless they have an exemption.

Customers - in hospitality venues member of the public must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Customers are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it. Businesses should take reasonable steps to encourage customer compliance for example through in store communications or notices at the entrance.

Test & Trace

Continued opening of the economy is reliant on NHS Test and Trace being used to minimise transmission of the virus. In order to ensure that businesses can remain open, you must:

  • Ask one member of every party who visits your premises to provide their contact details (and those of their group) and refuse entry to those who don't.

  • You must have a system in place to ensure you can collect information from your customers and visitors and provide it to NHS Test and Trace.

  • Keep a record of all staff working on your premises including; shift day and times and contact details.

  • Display a QR code or official QR code poster (from 24th September 2020) so customers and visitors can "check-in" using this option if they prefer.

  • Official NHS QR posters can be generated online at https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster

  • Organisations must have a system in place for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app.

Required details from customers and visitors are:

  • The name of the individual(s)

  • A telephone number they can be contacted on

  • If they don't have a telephone number, then an email address should be obtained

  • Where they are unable to provide an email address, their full postal address should be obtained

  • The date and time the individual(s) entered the premises

  • Where they are part of a group, the number of people in the group and each member of the group should provide the above details (by a lead individual or separately)

Rule of 6

From 18th September 2020, new regulations came into force, which require venues providing food and drink for consumption on their premises to comply with the following rules:

  • Do not accept a table booking for a group of more than six individuals or admit a group of more than six people (specific exemptions apply).

  • Take reasonable steps to prevent separate groups of six from mingling with each other.

  • Ensure that tables of different groups are spaced 2m apart, or 1m plus mitigations (such as screens or barriers).

Should you fail to comply with these legal requirements, you can face a fixed penalty notice of up to £4,000.

Guidance for employers

We have identified a number of guides to support local employers to navigate the information that is available, to minimise confusion and support businesses to overcome the challenges that they are now facing due to COVID-19.

How to work safely during COVID-19 pandemic

There is advice from the government and the Health and Safety Executive on how to operate safely, how to clean workplaces and undertake a risk assessment for returning staff to work and the links below will offer further information. 

Government guidance advice to industry sectors

Support for businesses trading internationally

How to clean workplaces safely

Latest advice from the Health and Safety Executive 

How to undertake a risk assessment

CIEH - Legionella lockdown risks and re-opening

Which businesses can and cannot be open?

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations came into force at 2pm on Sunday 21 March 2020. These regulations require premises, or parts of premises where food or drink is sold for consumption on the premises, to close to the public. 

Which businesses can stay open to the public and what services can provide