Richmondshire District Council

How do I keep my pub, club bar or restaurant COVID-19 secure?

  • Complete the Government's simple online questionnaire. Once you've completed the questionnaire's six questions this will provide you with guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment to make sure you keep employees and other people on site safe

  • Read the detailed Government guidance for your sector. It provides five practical steps to working safely as well as 12 detailed sector specific guides to give you practical help

  • Carry out your risk assessment. This should give confidence to your customers and staff that you have COVID-19 secure premises. Use our simple risk assessment template
  • Develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures
  • Social distancing - maintain 2 metres social distancing where possible, or 1 metre plus mitigation measures such as screens or barriers

  • From 24 September 2020 those businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants) must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include take-aways, but delivery and drive-thru services can continue after 10pm. In addition, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table

  • Do not take bookings or seat groups of more than six people

  • Staff in public facing roles must wear face coverings. Make sure customers wear face coverings when they move around a venue away from their table

  • From 24 September 2020 businesses and community organisations open to the public must display an official NHS QR code poster by law. This is to ensure that customers can check in using the new NHS Covid-19 app. Create your own QR poster for your venue

  • Collect name, contact details, arrival date and time (and where possible departure time) of at least one member of each group of up to 6 customers or visitors, unless they have used the QR code. Contact details can be, in order of preference, telephone number or email or postal address. Hospitality traders must retain details of customers for 21 days. If necessary you must share these contact details with the NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials to enable them to contact people who may have been exposed to the virus

  • You must refuse entry to your premises if individuals refuse to provide their contact details.

The guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services has all the information you need to produce a risk assessment and maintain social distancing. Make sure you have the latest guidance as there has been five versions since May 2020.

Environmental Health and Licensing officers, as well as the police, will issue fixed penalty notices for non-compliance. this could mean fines of £1,000 to £4,000, possible prosecution or the enforced closure of the business.

Frequently asked questions

What are mitigating measures?

These are actions that can be taken to slow the spread of coronavirus. Such measures include increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning; clear signage for customers; one way systems; sitting different groups side by side rather than facing each other; sitting customers back to back; use of physical barriers; reconfiguring outdoor and indoor seating and tables to maintain social distancing; encouraging sitting rather than standing.

Do premises need to undertake a risk assessment?

Yes. Your risk assessment needs to reflect the risk of Covid-19 to staff and customers.

Is the capacity limited to thirty?

No. However you need to calculate the maximum number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (this is 2 metres, or 1 metre with risk mitigation where 2 metres is not viable) at the venue. You will need to take into account total indoor and outdoor space, specific venue characteristics such as furniture, as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.

Can premises play recorded music?

Yes, but it should be incidental background music. People need to be able to talk without shouting whilst social distancing (2 metres apart).

Can premises screen sports, such as football matches?

Yes. You must however discourage shouting and cheering as this spreads the virus. 

Can premises allow live bands if they have social distancing measures in place? 

No. Live performances are still forbidden. 

Do I have to offer a booking service? 

No. It does however help to control the amount of customers arriving at the front door, and will help you plan the numbers of staff you need on shift. Do not however accept a table booking for a group of more than six people. You must have a system in place to ensure that you can collect customers' and visitors contact details, and provide this data to the NHS Test and Trace if requested.

Can customers be served at the bar? 

No. Venues selling alcohol or food and drink, must be ordered by and served to customers who are seated. You must have a system to take orders and payment from seated customers, instead of at a bar or counter. You should not allow customers to sit at your bar.

Can I accept cash?

Yes you can. We strongly recommend that you use contactless card payments as cash can transfer the virus.

Can customers use fruit/games machines?

Yes. However, strict cleaning and social distancing needs to be implemented. Offer hand sanitizers near the machines, and ensure staff clean them regularly. If two machines are located side by side then you may need to move one, provide screens, or turn one off to maintain social distancing.

Can customers play on my pool or snooker tables?

Yes, but you need good control measures. You will need to remove all equipment such as triangles, cue's, balls, chalk, etc, from the public area. These will need to be cleaned between new customers. Customers playing should be encouraged to sit between shots. Spectators must not be allowed to stand around the pool tables and watch. If tables are close, you may need to take every other table out of use. Other pub games like darts can also be played, with strict control measures in place.

Can I use outdoor areas?

Yes. Virus transmission is lower outside so do use all existing beer gardens as long as you implement social distancing. If you want to open a new seating area on private land you should contact us as soon as possible.

Can I use the pavement outside my premises?

You will need to apply for a pavement licence from us. Once your application for a licence has been approved, your business could place movable furniture on the pavement or serve food or drink there, or allow people to consume food/drink.

For more information visit our pavement licence page.

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