We have now published (23 June) new guidance for pubs, restaurants, and bars. This supports my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 June for their reopening from 4 July, provided they are COVID-secure. The guidance was developed following consultation with representatives from the industry.
The guidance sets out various measures for these businesses to consider including calculating the maximum number of customers they can provide services to in a socially distanced manner, reconfiguring seating areas, setting up handwashing facilities, providing clear communications about the rules indoors and outdoors, considering contactless payment methods, adjusting working practices to minimise staff and customer contact, and using outdoor spaces as much as possible.
The guidance is non-statutory but does not change existing obligations relating to health and safety, employment, or equalities. Employers have a duty under UK law to protect the health and safety of their workers and other people who might be affected by their business. This includes considering the risks that COVID-19 represents.
As is the case now, individual business owners will be responsible for ensuring their customers adhere to social distancing guidelines wherever possible.
Depending on the business, the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities enforce health and safety in these workplaces and will monitor compliance including through inspections and following up on concerns raised by individuals with them.
They can take action against any business who isn’t complying with their legal health and safety obligations, including providing guidance and issuing enforcement notices to require them to take the necessary action or taking further action, including fines, if they continue to not comply.