After more than three months of closure, the UK hospitality sector has finally been given the green light to begin reopening from as early as Saturday 4 July 2020.
This announcement was delivered by Boris Johnson on 23 June, and will be part of stage three in the Government’s three-stage recovery roadmap.
As the restrictions on dine-in services ease, this next phase comes with its own new set of rules and recommendations. To help restaurants reopen, the government released a 43-page document which outlines the steps each establishment should take to become ‘covid secure’.
Below we have highlighted some of the most important measures to follow in order to keep yourself, other diners and restaurant staff safe.
A quick guide to cafés, restaurants and pubs reopening in England
New social distancing rules
After much dispute over the two-metre social distancing restriction, the government has loosened the distance to one-metre-plus. The two-metre rule would have seen restaurants making only 30% of their normal revenue, compared to 60-75% with the one-metre distance in place. While the reduced distancing is positive for the restaurant community, it also means diners and staff must be even more vigilant about following other safety measures.
Restaurants that are able to operate with a two-metre distance in place are encouraged to do so. Otherwise, a one-metre distance is allowed so long as:
• Perspex screens and partitions are set up between tables
• Disposable menus are available (some restaurants have even changed to offering online menus via their website or a QR code on the dining table)
• Surfaces are regularly cleaned
• Face-to-face seating arrangements are reduced
• Self-service of food, cutlery and condiments is limited
Who are you allowed to dine out with?
Indoor gatherings at restaurants and pubs should only be kept to a maximum of two households, while outdoor gatherings can be between two households or a group of up to six people from any number of households.
You won’t be able to lean around the bar with your best mates just yet. Instead, indoor table service must be offered at restaurants, bars and pubs where possible. On top of this, a single waitstaff should be assigned per table to reduce contact between restaurant staff and diners.
You may be asked to ‘sign in’ to the restaurant
Despite no functioning trace and track app, the restaurant community is being asked to assist the NHS by keeping a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days. Therefore, online restaurant reservations are encouraged for automated customer records. In the unfortunate event of an outbreak, this visitor registry will be used for test and tracing purposes.
Wash. Your. Hands
This one doesn’t need much of an explanation.
Restaurants reopening in Scotland
In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 6 July. Pubs and restaurants with only indoor seating will be allowed to reopen from 15 July.
Restaurants reopening in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed that restaurants and cafes are able to open from 3 July. Bars and pubs are given the green light too, and those who do not serve food may only reopen in outdoor areas. Regardless of serving food or not, all establishments must offer table service.
How to support restaurants that haven’t reopened
Not all restaurants and pubs will be able to open. Many are unsure of how to do so safely or in a way that is financially viable for their business. Therefore we highly encourage you to continue to support your local restaurants on top of dining out again. This could be through ordering takeaways (like a fun cocktail delivery or cake delivery), purchasing gift cards and more.