Local Authorities issue joint statement to Hospitality Sector on Covid 19 Security Measures

Local authorities in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull have issued further guidance to hospitality venues to ensure that they take all possible steps to keep customers safe when they visit these premises. The statement has been issued after a dramatic rise in the number of Covid 19 infections across the region.

The local authorities are enhancing requirements to hold registers of individuals attending premises. This is intended to support NHS test and trace.

These Council’s are also recommending that hospitality venues review their Covid 19 risk assessments to add the following control measures:

  • Indoor table service must be used alongside measures assigning a single staff member to specific table(s) to avoid mixing of staff between tables.
  • Outdoor table service must also be provided if there is outside space and customers must either be standing within assigned spaces to ensure no mixing between groups of 6 or seated at tables.
  • Contact between kitchen workers and front of house workers must be avoided. For example, by having zones from which front of house staff can collect food.
  • Toilets must be supported by making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe and practical, and the adoption of a limited entry approach, with 1 in, 1 out (whilst avoiding the creation of additional bottlenecks). A visible cleaning schedule must be displayed and toilets should be cleaned more regularly than usual. Hand sanitiser should also be visible at all entry points to premises.
  • Providing written or spoken communication of the latest guidelines to both workers and customers inside and outside the venue. Businesses should display posters or information setting out how customers should behave at their venue to keep everyone safe. They must consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those with impaired hearing or those who are visually impaired.
  • Within the premises businesses must have a clear approach to ensuring social distancing and no mixing between social groups in queues and in outdoor smoking areas.
  • If businesses are notified or become aware of COVID cases linked to their premises, they must comply fully with contract tracing and testing requirements and any action needed to control outbreaks.
  • The local authorities note that Face visors do not provide adequate protection on their own and have been linked to outbreaks. If businesses chose to use these, staff must also wear a face mask. Face masks should be worn if staff are less than 2m from customers or other staff.

In addition customers must:

  • Comply with all measures that they are asked to take by hospitality venues.
  • Wash their hands or use hand gel before and after going out and regularly when they are out, particularly after contact with door-handles, light switches, taps etc.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times, including when coming in and out of venues.
  • NOT visit venues if they have any signs of COVID or concerns about any symptoms they have.
  • Give the correct details to the venue so they can be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Wear a mask in any crowded or narrow areas and if they are requested to do so.
  • Use their judgement about where they go and how much they go out.

The guidelines relating to these premises remain fluid given the ongoing public health emergency. It is essential that restaurant owners act to ensure that their businesses have done all that is reasonably practicable to keep their employees and customers safe. Local authorities have taken swift enforcement action against businesses who have flouted the rules. 

Our Regulatory Partner, James Lowe, is offering a free 1 hour consultation for any business contacted by the HSE or local authorities in respect of compliance issues relating to Covid 19. James can be contacted on 07833 240400.