Last Saturday we saw the doors open to some of the City’s pubs, bars and restaurants which was a welcome sight. Feedback from agencies from the weekend is generally positive and it is clear that many operators have taken considerable steps towards implementing measures for a safe re-opening of their business. There were however some themes reported back, and whether you are currently operating or about to resume your business, we need your support in addressing these:
The following guidance excerpts in italic are taken from the HM Government document - Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
A number of operators were under the misunderstanding that the 2 metre guideline for social distancing no longer applied and had been reduced to 1 metre. In simple terms, 1 metre+ means 1 metre plus extra measures. If you have no extra measures in place then social distancing is still 2 metres.
The guidance also states: ‘Planning for maintaining social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) in the event of adverse weather conditions, being clear that customers cannot seek shelter indoors unless social distancing can be maintained’. We advise you to look again at your risk assessments, ensure they are set up to allow for 2m (or 1m+) social distancing both in the seating and queuing areas, taking into consideration the weather. We advise all operators to manage their external and communal areas proactively and on a more regular basis. Please also ensure that any queues are organised so they do not conflict with smoking areas. There were some issues around queuing and smoking areas becoming intermingled with queues, and some minor disorder when some premises were closing due to over inebriation.
Music and any forms of entertainment are not permitted. Should you provide background music, including broadcasts, this should be at a low level. Indoor and outdoor areas can be noisy from customers alone, and adding background music to this will cause the need for customers to shout or raise their voices which must be avoided.
As advised in the guidance: ‘All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission’.
Regular housekeeping of outside areas
Outside areas are more popular than ever and it is essential that these areas are effectively managed. Tables must be cleared and sanitised, empty glasses & bottles collected and other single use items disposed immediately in between customers. Not only can glasses and bottles be used as missiles/weapons and litter be unsightly and create slip hazards, but it increases the potential for transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Alcohol tolerance thresholds may have reduced following lockdown. Please appropriately risk assess any activities that could lead to over-intoxication such as bottomless brunches. The more intoxicated people become, the more likely it is that they will not observe your house rules and social distancing. It is an offence to sell alcohol to anyone who is drunk.
We urge you to review your COVID-19 risk assessments daily in consultation with staff, to make sure any gaps are addressed and to refresh and amend any hazard control measures, as necessary. Once you have carried out a risk assessment you should display a notice in your workplace to show that you have complied with the guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 – see Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice
As already mentioned, the re-opening of the Leeds hospitality sector last weekend was positive and it was clear that many operators had worked hard to ensure the safe re-opening of their business. It is vitally important that operators continue to promote a COVID-secure business keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 having regard to the latest government guidance and regulations. Agencies will continue to monitor and provide support.
Further useful information and guidance for businesses
GOV.UK - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Leeds Pubwatch – Business support information
Leeds City Council – Coronavirus - help for business
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