Advice for public houses and restaurants reopening from 4 July

Covid Risk Assessment

A careful consideration of measures you will take to avoid spreading harm in this case in relation to passing Covid-19 infection around.

You must:
  1. identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  2. think about who could be at risk
  3. decide how likely it is that employees or customers could be exposed to the virus
  4. act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk of exposure
  5. be able to explain/demonstrate what you have done about 1-4 above (your own ‘Covid rules for your business’)

This must be written down and be available for us to inspect when we visit.

Further information at and template for risk assessment can be found at:
The Government has announced that you should only re-open your premises once you have completed a risk assessment and are confident that you can manage the risks.
Your risk assessment must be reviewed regularly as you will possibly need to make changes after the initial opening.

Communicating your COVID-19 risk assessment

Your COVID-19 risk assessment should then be communicated to all employees
  • Check each day by asking if any symptoms or contacts with people showing symptoms
  • Explain what you think are suitable arrangements but listen to and consider staff’s comments about what would and wouldn’t work well.
Communicating your risk assessment with customers/visitors
  • Ask visitors if they have had symptoms
  • Have a seating plan
  • Ask for contact details so you can inform them if any staff or other customers have symptoms. Explain that you need to keep a temporary record of the customers and any other visitor’s details for 21 day to assist NHS Test and Trace
  • Encourage customers to use hand sanitiser as they enter your premises and staff to wash their hands on arrival.
  • Provide clear information about your ‘covid rules’ e.g. floor markings, written information sheet given out on arrival and on your website so customer know before they arrive
  • Provide pre-booking information to customers about what to expect, including the social distancing and other measures in place and encourage them to come on time for their booking. This information can be posted on websites, social media, booking forms or customers advised when booking.
  • Ensure that your staff are briefed on how to remind customers of the need to maintain social distancing during their visit to your premise. You are responsible for ensuring social distancing is maintained between everyone whilst at your premise.
  • Ensure you have procedures to address any customers (and staff) who refuse to adhere to this requirement. It is your responsibility to ensure the risks are controlled.

Organising your workplace and how you will be working in it

  • Decide on the maximum capacity of your premises that still allows suitable separation distances - Take into account poor weather – if it suddenly rains your customers will not be able to come into your premises unless they can maintain social distancing. It is only fair that they are aware of this.
  • Increase hand washing or hand sanitising and surface cleaning particularly in high foot fall areas or common touch points.
  • Keeping activity between staff and customers as short as possible.
  • Using back to back or side to side working rather than face to face wherever possible.
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using fixed teams or partnering and fixing serving staff to assigned tables or zones.
  • Using fixed screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
  • Arrange the workplace to ensure separation distances 2m minimum or below if good control measures to prevent infection spread
  • Remove the need for customers to queue. Consider introducing a booking system and ensure any queues do not conflict with queues for other neighbouring businesses. If queues are likely to form anywhere in your premise consider the use of floor markings to control the queue
  • Look for pinch-points where people may have to pass by or work close together –possible one way system and one–in, one-out, for toilets. A one way system could work to avoid customers and staff passing more often than absolutely necessary
  • Clear information to staff about the Covid rules you have made eg notice in staff room, printed sheets or discussion at staff briefings – Make sure staff understand how you want them to work, possible get them to sign copies of your covid rules.
  • Don’t forget disabled access and movement around the site.
  • Clean all touch surfaces between customers (this should include chairs as well as the tables). Use your regular cleaning products but make sure you use disposable paper towels/cloths
  • Clean toilet facilities more often and ensure this includes hand touch points.
  • Provide paper towels for hand drying in the toilets and ensure there is a bin for disposal.
  • Restrict access to some facilities if social distancing cannot be maintained, e.g. consider closing urinals but keep access to cubicles
  • If employees are working within close proximity to customers, for an extended period over a working day, then provide them with properly fitting clear face visors. There is no requirement for the customers to wear any masks or face coverings
  • Keep doors (excluding fire doors) and windows open as far as possible, to reduce hand contact points and increase ventilation in all areas including toilets. Ensure any air conditioning system is not just recirculating air
  • Encourage contactless payment (including tips).
  • There must be no self-service or buffet service and where possible replace condiment bottles with disposable condiments, or clean condiments after every customer. Consider leaving tables bare until customers are seated.
  • Minimise contact between staff and customers – consider a drop off/collection table for food and drinks, contactless payments (or install screens at till points), clearing tables once the customer has left (not between courses), ask customers to leave glasses on their tables to be cleared when they leave etc.
  • Ensure any outside shelters are well ventilated, remove sides where possible. Smokers tend to cough more than non-smokers. If you are erecting temporary structures ensure that you adhere to any planning requirements and that you use a reputable company to ensure safe erection of the structure. Make daily checks to ensure that temporary structures remain safe. This could also be a point where people meet and are in close contact so consider if you need a smoking shelter.
  • Minimise access to touch points in kitchens eg walk in fridges freezers/pantries.
  • Keep music / TV levels low so that there is no need for customers or staff to raise their voices. If you are showing the football on a big screen ensure your customers remain socially distanced when viewing.
  • Permit staff and customers to wear face coverings if they wish to do so (if this is the case you may prefer visors as they allow customers to see the faces of staff). Generally PPE should not be required in your settings. The risks should be controlled through social distancing, mitigation and short duration activities.
  • Avoid face to face meetings with staff, hold any meetings outside where possible and ensure social distancing guidelines are met.
  • As far as possible where contact is unavoidable try to ensure the staff remain in the same teams.
  • Ensure that staff comply with social distancing guidelines at all times including during breaks, changing areas and when travelling to work. If staff have to isolate for 14 days due to being a contact of a positive case this may have a huge impact on your ability to run your business.
  • To assist the ‘Test and Trace’ service

a) keep a record of your staff shift patterns for 21 days

b) keep a record of the name and contact details of the group organiser for any bookings that you have had for 21 days. Consider keeping this information for all seated customers.

  • If you have not been running the water at your site during lockdown and are planning on re-opening your business soon, please consider the Legionella risks and take action in line with Legionella guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. This will at least involve flushing all of your water outlets (taps shower heads etc) for at least 10/15 minutes. Be careful not to cause splashing while flushing – Further information about legionella can be found at
  • Review and update your fire risk assessment
  • Review your SFBB/HACCP in line with your changes
The above list is our understanding of the major points that apply to pubs and restaurants at the moment and although we have done our best to keep up to date and accurate it is still very important and in your and your customers’ and employees’ interests that you regularly consult the Government guidance yourself.

Specific requirements regarding public houses and restaurants

  • Arrange seating and standing areas to maintain social distancing guidelines between customers of different households or support bubbles. - The current social distancing guidelines are 2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable. This means that you should maintain 2m social distancing, wherever possible. If this is not possible this can be reduced to 1m+ but ONLY where risk mitigation is in place. Where 2m is not viable first consider whether the activity needs to be undertaken. Risk mitigation in these settings may differ according to your particular premise needs, for example there may not be 2m distance between your bar and your entrance door. In this case you can still use the entrance but must ensure it is an area to pass through quickly. Likewise you may wish to have more tables than a 2m distance will allow for economic reasons – this may be possible, provided you have risk assessed this and put in suitable mitigation to protect both staff and customers. You could mitigate in this situation by installing screens between the tables, or orientate them back-to-back provided this does not compromise customer escape in the event of an emergency. What you cannot do is arrange seating 1m apart with no mitigation simply to increase capacity.
  • Indoors; customers can sit indoors in groups of two households (or support bubbles). NB Groups comprising of more than one household must still be seated socially distanced at a table (2m, or reduced to greater than 1m if you have other risk mitigation in place at the table).
  • Provide table service rather than ordering at the bar/till where possible
  • Outdoors; gatherings should only be occurring in groups of up to two households (or support bubbles), or a group of, at most, six people from any number of households. Again anyone who is not from the same household must remain socially distanced from the rest of their group.
  • Increase the use of external areas for seating where possible (see Licensing section below). Be mindful of both your location and your neighbours if you are considering extending external consumption of food and / or drink. Even the sound of voices can be disturbing to neighbours. Equally having street furniture on the pavement may compromise the safety of those passing by and / or conflict with queues for neighbouring businesses. If you are considering changing the way that you operate please discuss your proposals with those people who may be impacted by your changes and try to agree a way forward.
  • There must not be any darts or snooker etc. available

Specific exclusions regarding public houses and restaurants

Wakes and wedding receptions cannot currently be taken even if below the capacity of your site/dining area because social interaction cannot be prevented and this would then be an illegal gathering and you would be breaking the Covid restrictions

Unfortunately, for the time being live entertainment is not permitted in public houses or restaurants. Please keep an eye on the Government’s COVID-19 pages for further updates.

Licensing considerations

The new business and planning Bill 2020 published on 25 June 2020, proposes changes to streamline current processes with respect to placing tables and chairs on the highway and the sale of alcohol under the Licensing Act 2003. At the time of writing, the changes are not yet in place but are likely to be implemented imminently. A brief summary of the key changes are provided below.

Pavement Licences – Tables and Chairs

Businesses selling food and drink such as cafes, pubs and restaurants will able to apply for a “pavement licence” through a new temporary fast track process, to place furniture such as tables and chairs on the pavement outside a premises.
If you wish to apply for a permit or require more information about the process please send an email to the licensing team
Once the change has been implemented you will be notified of the streamlined process and invited to make an application.

Alcohol Licensing: off-sales extension

The measures included in the Bill modify provisions in the Licensing Act 2003 to provide automatic extensions to the terms of on-sales alcohol licences to allow for off-sales. It is designed to be a temporary measure with provisions lasting until the end of September 2021.
The measures will make it possible for licensed premises that have only an on-sales license to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. This will allow businesses to trade whilst keeping social distancing measures in place inside. The provisions remove the need for any application to be made, therefore no fee will need to be paid.
Last updated on: 06/07/2020 - 14:34