Working safely in pubs and bars
This guidance has been produced to help Employers understand their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and make it easier to comply with this and associated legislation.
The guidance document 'Keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services' has been prepared by the Department of Business, Entergy and Industrial Strategy, with input from businesses, unions and industry bodies and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The document is expected to be updated over time.
Risk assessments, customer and employee safety and how to manage toilets are three of the points made in the Government's guidelines on how pubs can re-open on 4th July.
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment Pubs must carry out risk assessments for each of their venues and any offices they have and use the information gathered to prevent health and safety risks.
Some points to consider;
- A risk assessment should help identify sensible measures to control risks in the workplace.
- Pubs with fewer than five employees don't need to write down their risk assessment.
- Staff must be consulted on health and safety matters, this should be done by asking them about perceived risk.
- The results of the risk assessment must be shared with the workforce and if possible, published on the pub's website.
- A risk assessment guide can be found on the HSE's website.
Objective: To maintain social distancing when providing entertainment within or outside restaurants, pubs, bars and similar venues that serve food or drink.
For many restaurants, pubs and bars, providing entertainment such as recorded music, live sports broadcasts, quizzes, live musicians or comedians are an important part of their business.
Venues may host socially distanced indoor and outdoor performances, though we encourage performances to continue to take place outdoors wherever possible. Venues should take account of the performing arts guidance in organising performances.
All venues should ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices, such as when speaking loudly or singing loudly, particularly in confined and poorly ventilated spaces. This includes broadcasts that may encourage shouting, particularly if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.
Singing by customers in groups of more than 6 people (unless exemptions apply) and music which exceeds 85db(A) at its source (except for performances of live music) are not allowed in law. Evidence on the most effective steps that can be taken to limit the transmission of the virus continues to be regularly reviewed. This guidance may be updated in the future in response to changing scientific understanding.
For more information please view the Government's website.
Keeping customers safe
Operators should consider the cumulative impact of many premises re-opening in a small area, which means working with the local authority, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess the risk and applying additional mitigations:
- It is still recommended to keep a 2 metre distance wherever is possible however, a new "1-metre-plus" approach has been introduced. This means that members of the public can be 1 metre away from each other as long as other measures are put in place to limit the transmission of the virus.
- Pubs should look at reconfiguring furniture to maintain social distancing guidelines, safe queuing spaces and clear signage on hygiene.
- To reduce touchpoints, doors that are not fire doors should be wedged open and rigorous cleaning of surfaces and objects between customer use should be undertaken,
- The guidelines also state that operators should make customers aware of gathering limits, take the needs of disabled customers into account and ensure precautions are taken in the event of adverse weather conditions.
- The number of customers inside the premises should be managed as well as the entry of guests, so all indoor customers are seated with appropriate distancing and those outside have appropriately spaced seating or standing room. This will help areas of congestion not to become overcrowded.
- Marking entry numbers could be done at the time of booking through reservation systems, social distancing markers, customers queuing at a safe distance for toilets or bringing payment machines to customers wherever possible.
- One way systems should be considered and families with children should be reminded they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines. Children's indoor and soft play areas must remain closed.
- It is also outlined that operators should keep a temporary record of customers for 21 days in a way that is manageable for the business and to assist the NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if required to help contain clusters or outbreaks.
- Staff should continue to maintain social distancing from customers when taking orders and minimising customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments. Disposable condiments are strongly advised or if this is not possible, cleaning non disposable condiments after each use should be carried out.
- Napkins and cutlery must only be brought out with food. Single-use paper menus to replace laminated menus.
- Contactless payments should be encouraged and where possible the location of card readers should be adjusted to distancing guidelines.
- Contact between front of house and customers at points of service should be minimised where possible, this could be achieved by using screens or tables at tills and counters.
This involves more frequent hand washing and surface cleaning, the use of screens or barriers to separate workers where possible, using back to back or side to side working wherever possible and shift patterns designed so each person only works with a few others.
- Operators should stagger arrival and departure times, provide additional parking or facilities to encourage using other modes of transport other than public transport and wash uniforms on site.
- Work areas should be assigned to an individual as much as possible.
- When it comes to food and the kitchen areas, access should be available to as few people as possible and this is the same for walk in chillers.
Safety precautions such as signage should be considered as well as social distance markings where queues usually form alongside a limited entry approach.
- Running water, liquid soap and suitable options for drying hands either paper towels or hand driers must be available.
- Ventilation should also be considered along with more waste facilities and increasing the frequency of rubbish collections.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- PPE is dependent on the risk assessments, if PPE is required then employers must provide it free of charge to workers who need it.
- More restaurants, pubs and cafés will be able to serve people outside post lockdown thanks to simpler licensing laws. The Government has announced that it will simplify and reduce the costs of the licensing process for outdoor drinking and stalls.
- As part of the new Business and Planning Bill, outdoor markets, pop-up car boot sales and summer fairs won't need a planning application. Plus, pubs and cafés will be able to use their car parks and terraces as extended outdoor dining/drinking areas using their existing seating licences.
- Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow more licensed establishments to sell alcohol for off-the-premises consumption.
Changes for the hospitality industry introduced by the government will:
- Reduce the consultation period for applications for pavement licences from 28 calendar days to five working days, and grant consent after ten working days if the council does not issue a decision.
- Set a lower application fee for a pavement and street cafe licence of up to £100.
- Remove the need for a planning application for outdoor markets and marquees, meaning they can be set up for longer.
- Provide more freedoms for areas to hold car boot sales and summer fairs.
A frequently asked questions webpage has also been devised by the UK Hospitality sector for those seeking further information.
Help and support for businesses