It will have come as welcome news to those in the leisure and hospitality industry following Boris Johnson’s announcement that businesses and venues may begin to re-open again as from 4 July. However, it is important to remember that the ability to do so remains subject to compliance with specific guidance from the Government. In this briefing note, we seek to set out the main points in the guidance which must be adhered to.
Does not apply to all businesses?
The latest relaxation of the lockdown restrictions do not apply to all businesses. The following businesses must continue to remain closed for the time being:
Bowling alleys & indoor skating rinks;
Indoor play areas;
Nail bars & beauty/tanning salons;
Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours;
Indoor fitness/gyms, dance studios and other sports venues/facilities;
Swimming pools, including water parks; and
Exhibition or conference centres (for events).
Who does it apply to?
Whilst it will be understandably frustrating for those businesses which must remain closed, the latest guidance will allow many other businesses within the leisure and hospitality industry to open. These businesses are:
All indoor and outdoor hospitality venues that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside;
Hotels, hostels, bed & breakfast venues, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks and boarding houses;
Hair salons & barbers including mobile businesses;
Cinemas, theatres & concert halls, although at the present time live performances are not permitted;
Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks & activities;
Outdoor gyms, skating rinks & playgrounds;
Museums and galleries;
Amusement arcades & other entertainment centres;
Indoor attractions such as zoos, farms, aquariums or safari parks; and
Indoor & outdoor visitor attractions including gardens, heritage sites, film studios & landmarks.
Social distancing remains at the heart of the Government’s guidance, both for staff and visiting customers. However, where it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2 metres, it will now be possible for this to be reduced to 1 metre.
The guidance published, which is only applicable to England, makes it clear that the following measures should be put in place for all businesses that are now free to re-open from 4 July:
Assess the number of customers or crowd density that can reasonably enable social distancing within any space.
Consider limiting the number of customers or adjusting the crowd density at any time – for example by implementing timed ticketing or asking customers to book in advance if possible.
Consider how customers and employees will move in congested areas.
Review how customers move through and around the venue (indoor & outdoors) and consider how you could adjust the flow of customers & employees to reduce congestion and contact – for example, by queue management or one-way flow where possible.
Manage queues to make sure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses.
Ensure any changes to entry, exit and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled customers.
Encourage customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises.
Have clear designed positions from where employees can provide customer assistance whilst maintaining social distancing.
Work with neighbouring businesses and the Local Authority to consider how to stagger the number of people arriving throughout the day.
Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets and other changing facilities.
Further separate guidance
Further separate guidance has been published for restaurants, bars, pubs and businesses offering takeaway services, hair salons and barbers and hotels and other accommodation. That guidance makes it clear that in addition to the above, each of those venues should follow additional procedures as set out below.
Restaurants, bars, pubs and takeaway services
Reconfigure indoor & outdoor seating & tables to maintain social distancing between customers of different households or support bubbles.
Encourage use of contactless ordering from tables where available (e.g. an app) but where this is not possible maintain social distancing when taking orders from customers.
Work with neighbouring businesses and the Local Authority to provide additional parking or facilities such as bike racks, where possible, to help customers avoid the use of public transport.
Reduce the need for customers to queue but where this is unavoidable discourage customers for doing so indoors and use outdoors space where available and safe to do so.
Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to all customers on arrival. Consider having hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets. Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets including increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage.
Manage the entry of all customers and numbers at a venue so that all indoor customers are seated with appropriate distancing & those outdoor have appropriately spaced seating or standing room.
Encourage compliance by customers with limits on gatherings – indoor gatherings are limited to members of any two households (or support bubbles) with outdoor gatherings being limited to members of any tow households (or support bubbles) or a group of at most any six persons from multiple households.
Provide only disposable condiments or ensure any non-disposable condiment container is cleaned after each use.
Reduce the number of surfaces touched by both staff and customers & minimise contact between front of house staff and customers at point of service. Assign a single staff member per table.
Encourage contactless payment where possible and adjust the location of the card reader to social distancing guidelines.
Keep the premises well ventilated. Ensure all outdoor areas have sufficient ventilation, particularly covered areas.
Provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.
For takeaway or delivery services, encourage customers to order online, on apps or over the phone to reduce queues and stagger pick up times.
Ensure clear guidance on the procedures is provided to all customers on arrival and clearly displayed at the premises.
Hair salons and barbers
Limit the number of appointments at any one time so that social distancing can be maintained.
Ask customers if they can attend their appointment alone if possible.
Operate an appointment only service.
Review working practices to minimise the duration of contact with the customer.
Limit the use of changing facilities available to customers and only open them when essential to provide a service – for example, tanning services.
COVID-19 screening questions should be asked of clients ahead of their appointment. If the customer has any of these symptoms, however, mild, they should stay at home and re-schedule their appointment.
Consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets.
Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage.
Keep the premises well ventilated.
Provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collections.
Ensure latest guidance are visible throughout the premises and is provided to customers upon arrival.
Hotels and other accommodation
Take measures to make reception areas safer with increased cleaning and keeping the activity time as short as possible. Consider installing screens and introducing staggered check-in and check-out times.
Minimise life usage and provide clear signage for new lift rules.
Make staff accessible to guests via phone, emails and guest apps.
When offering room service, drop trays outside and encourage tips to be added to the bill.
Ensure housekeeping staff follow Government handwashing guidance.
Make a checklist of all hand contact services to be cleaned after each guest vacates.
Encourage guests to wear masks on communal hallways.
Ensure that any bar or restaurant is only open in a way compliant with Government guidance.
In hostels, close communal sleeping spaces to any groups except those travelling within the Government guidance on social mixing outside of households. Close other shared facilities – e.g. communal kitchens & TV rooms.
In hostels, take all possible precautions to reduce the risk of transmission in shared showers and toilet facilities.
In bed and breakfast facilities and self-catering facilities, ensure keys are cleaned between guests.
In bed and breakfast facilities and camp site, either shut shared shower facilities or assign them to one household group or run a reservation and clean process.
VisitEngland for hotels
To reassure the public that businesses are adhering to Government guidance, VisitEngland for hotels will be introducing a new industry standard. The standard will act as a marker to visitors to show that a venue is adhering to the guidance.
Track and trace
The opening up of the economy is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. Businesses should support this service by keeping a temporary records of all customers and visitors for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.
Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their customers and visitors but where you do not already do this you should do so to help fight the virus.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.