Reopening guidance leaked as hospitality sector awaits official advice

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

22 June 2020

Drink orders will be placed on smartphone apps, restaurant menus will have fewer items than usual and nightclubs will still be a no-go, according to newly leaked government guidance on reopening

Ahead of an official announcement from the UK government, The Times has reportedly gained access to leaked documents outlining the measures bars, pubs and restaurants must take upon reopening.

Official advice is expected to come this week, along with the results of the two-metre distancing review and the outcome of legislation that could allow any business with an alcohol licence to sell takeaway drinks. 

The government is also expected to announce a reopening date for the on-trade on Tuesday, following previous statements that pubs and restaurants may be able to reopen on 4 July. 

The Times reports that the following requirements will be put in place for hospitality venues: 

Pubs

  • Indoor capacity will be limited, with marks on the floor to facilitate social distancing
  • Orders will be taken on smartphone apps wherever possible, and ordering at the bar will be discouraged
  • Glasses will be collected from tables rather than returned by customers
  • Staff will sanitise surfaces every hour at minimum
  • Pub gardens will be regularly surveyed to ensure social-distancing rules are observed

Restaurants

  • Capacity will be limited; queues will form outside and reservations will be used to stagger dining times
  • Tables will be spread out to aid in social distancing
  • Napkins and cutlery will be provided with food, not set out in advance
  • Menus will be single use and disposable; number of menu items available is likely to be limited so that chefs can avoid cross-contamination
  • Contactless payments recommended
  • Staff will wear gloves when handling plates or wash their hands every time they serve a different table

Nightclubs

  • Unlikely to reopen soon
  • Upon eventual reopening, queues could be spaced out with markings; entry checks requiring customers to sanitise their hands and have their temperatures taken at the door could be put in place

Today, trade body UKHospitality has again called on the government to confirm the 4 July reopening date and provide official guidance. Its urgency has been spurred on by a new survey of the hospitality industry, which predicts that, by December, businesses will still be trading at just half the level they were last year – even with social distancing reduced to one metre.

‘Businesses need time to prepare and the first step on the road to recovery is confirmation of when they can open their doors again,’ commented Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality. Nicholls previously called for the extension of rent moratorium measures for businesses impacted by covid-19; last week, the government announced that evictions due to the pandemic will be suspended until 30 September.

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