Covid guidance for hospitality premises


Ahead of hospitality premises being able to open outdoors from April 26, the following Welsh Government guidance has been issued via UK Hospitality Cymru.

Hospitality (pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and licensed venues) – Re-opening Outdoors

Mitigating guidance for Wales

The Welsh Government published on 19 March an update to the Coronavirus Control Plan, which builds on the traffic-light framework of restrictions originally put in place in May 2020. This updated Coronavirus Control Plan, which takes account of vaccination and the dominant Kent variant, sets out how we will move through the alert levels and how we can help people and businesses plan for the future, as we continue our careful approach to unlocking the current restrictions.

The Hospitality Sector is a vital part of the Welsh economy and this document reflects the mitigations that businesses in the sector will need to apply when re-opening outdoors in order to protect their staff and customers as they successfully did when re-opening in 2020. 

These mitigations are part of the wider Guidance for the Tourism and Hospitality Businesses and the UK Hospitality Cymru Guidance.  Please refer to the main guidance for full detail. This Guidance and mitigations will be updated when indoor hospitality is allowed to resume.

This guidance has been produced in consultation with industry stakeholders and applies to hospitality businesses in Wales. Reference should also be made to the Welsh Government web page on current alert levels and any transitional arrangements that may be in place.  These may change at short notice so it is advised that the page is checked regularly.

Whilst the main aim of these measures is to minimise the level of risk, it is ultimately everyone’s responsibility (including a personal responsibility) in individual circumstances to consider the most sensible thing to do to avoid the spread of the virus.

This includes continuing to ensure safety measures are in place but also factoring in the risks associated with, for example, the length of time people spend in hospitality venues, the number of people present and maximising levels of ventilation.

In that context further guidance on ventilation can be found within Keep Wales Safe: guidance for tourism and hospitality. This is particularly important in protecting staff working on site and will be vital as part of the move to re-opening indoors.

The longer a person with the virus spends in any venue and the more they interact with others, the higher the number of people likely to be infected. In addition, the more people move between hospitality venues, the higher the risk for the individuals involved, the more likely it is that the virus spreads, the more difficult it becomes for contacts to be traced and the more risk there is of further lockdowns.

The hospitality sector should place safety as a priority at all times and recognise that at the current time going to a pub, bar, café or restaurant should not feel the same as it used to. We have a duty of care to each other and to the businesses we all enjoy and that others rely on for their livelihoods. The sector is open – let’s keep it that way by doing our bit to keep coronavirus under control and to keep Wales safe.

 Mitigations for Hospitality Businesses

  1. Each business must undertake, and have available on site, a specific Covid-19 full risk assessment, prepared in line with the Welsh Government and UK Hospitality industry guidance referred to above and staff must be consulted on the risk assessment. It is recommended that businesses should make their specific Covid-19 risk assessment publicly available for staff, customers and the community and should keep their risk assessments updated in line with the latest guidance. In addition business owners will need to take full account of the requirement to protect staff and offer individual risk assessments for their members of staff dependent on the roles they play and whether they are at increased risk or clinically extremely vulnerable.  
  2. At the current time only outdoor hospitality can open and for all premises, the maximum number of people that can meet outdoors is up to 6 people from no more than 2 households.  This means that up to 6 people (not including children aged under 11 or a person who is caring for someone participating in such a gathering) from 2 different households can meet – but this should be a maximum not a target. A household means a group of people living in the same home. A household can be one person living on their own, flat-mates, or a family living in the same home, and may also include someone who has formed a support bubble with another household. More information on Households can be found within our guidance FAQs.
  3. All regulated premises must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus including taking all reasonable measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing requirements and other reasonable mitigations within the venue e.g. implementing mitigations between tables where it is not possible to maintain 2mtr of space and maximising ventilation. More information on reasonable steps on managing areas inside your premises can be found in section 4.9 of the guidance. Where up to 6 people from 2 different households are seated together at a table, every effort should still be made by the business and the customer to ensure that they maximise distance at the table. The aim is to keep staff and customers safe and it is fully acknowledged that there is a vital role for the customer to play in adhering to Social Distancing requirements when on the premises. Bookings should not knowingly be taken for more than 6 people from 2 households or more by separating the party onto different tables.
  4. In premises authorised to sell or supply alcohol (licensed premises) only, there must be controlled entry in respect of the sale or supply of food or drink for consumption outdoors. Controlled entry includes pre-booking wherever possible with details of all members of the group taken as part of the booking and verified on arrival (see also point 5).  “Walk-ups” should be kept to a minimum and subject to access through a controlled entry point with provision and verification of names of all members of the group at that point.   Any person working indoors to serve customers and customers themselves when entering must wear face coverings whilst in the indoor public space unless they have an exemption.  A queueing system that allows for 2m distancing must be in place and there must be signage at the entry point to advise of the face covering and distancing requirements.  Customers can walk through indoor space to access outdoor space at entry point. All food and drink must be consumed in outdoor areas of the licensed premises.
  5. In all hospitality premises, licensed and non-licensed, it is mandatory to collect contact information for all staff and adult (over 18) customers or visitors.  This means collecting the person’s name and telephone number, date of visit and arrival and departure time and retain them for 21 days. This can either be done on paper or electronically but should adhere to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).  Where there is a concern e.g. that the customers seem to be from more than two households, businesses should make efforts to satisfy themselves that the people present are from no more than two households and request verification of home address e.g. from a drivers licence. The NHS COVID-19 app does not substitute the above requirement and is not essential or mandated. More information on keeping records of staff, customers and visitors is available.   
  6. In premises authorised to sell or supply alcohol (e.g. licensed premises), customers must be seated at all times outdoors (anywhere other than at a bar) when ordering food or drink, when being served with food and drink (table service only), and when consuming food and drink. Licensed premises are encouraged to use smartphone apps for customers to pay for food to minimise contact between staff and customers. The use of Apps or other communications devices is recommended, to reduce contact with customers, including options for menus, ordering, billing and contactless payment. In the absence of the necessary infrastructure to take payment outside, a customer may pay inside at the counter, social distancing should be maintained. In unlicensed premises customers can order and pay at the counter subject to maintaining social distancing, but should consume food and drink at their table.   
  7. All premises must ensure that where people are required to wait to enter the premises that a distance of 2 mtrs is maintained except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer.  Businesses should implement one-way systems, where the building (and other legislation – e.g. Equality Act 2010) allows. Outside queues should be managed to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks, for example by introducing queuing systems.
  8. Staff should wear face coverings at all times unless they have an exemption from doing so. When moving about indoors, to walk through to the outdoor area or to go to the toilets, customers must always ensure they are wearing face coverings (unless they are under 11 or have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering as set out in the face coverings guidance for the public).  To safeguard staff and customers, businesses should consider asking customers to wear face coverings at all times outdoors, except when seated at a table, however this is not mandatory.   Staff should be encouraged to temporarily remove their face coverings, whilst maintaining social distance, if required to assist someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
  9. The obligation is on members of the public to adhere to the latest travel restrictions (if any). Whilst businesses are not legally responsible for enforcing these requirements on their customers, they must not help customers break these restrictions. This means not knowingly accepting customers who have travelled to their premises from an area where travel is not permitted. The obligation is on the individual although a business that encourages a breach may also commit an offence. See information on travel restrictions.
  10. All businesses should set and display the maximum capacity for the premises and put in place measures for communicating and managing the maximum capacity set. This should form part of the specific Covid-19 risk assessment (See 1 above).
  11. All businesses must ensure customers are fully aware of their responsibilities for observing social distancing and all Covid-19 safety measures – using clear signage and other visual communications (e.g. posters or airline style flashcards). A suite of consumer facing materials is available to support businesses. 
  12. All businesses must maximise ventilation and enhance airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) where possible. Further detail on ventilation in the Tourism & Hospitality Businesses guidance in section 4.14  
  13. All businesses must, where possible, deploy fixed teams of staff to reduce interactivity between team members including setting a maximum staff number, or space per staff member, in kitchens to allow for social distancing whilst taking into account the cramped nature of many kitchens.  Businesses should also encourage new ways of working, adapting shift patterns and menus to significantly reduce the number of people working in kitchens at any one time.
  14. Businesses should designate a named member or members of staff per shift (depending on number of covers) during all opening hours to monitor Covid-19 hygiene and enforcement of social distancing/safety protocols – acting as ‘Covid Secure Monitors’.
  15. Employers should appoint and engage with a staff representative, and trade union representative wherever possible, for all employee related Covid-19 issues.
  16. When utilising outdoor spaces, the use of physical coverings, awnings, gazebos or marquees should be implemented in such a way so as to ensure that they are aligned with current public health advice. The effects of sunlight, wind direction and intensity, social distance and effective handwashing should all be considered. Specifically, if they are closed on all sides and roof/ceiling they are considered and treated as an internal environment, and should be treated as such. In contrast if they are open-sided (at least 3 sides or more than 51% open as per the Smoke-Free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020) they are to be considered and treated as an external environment. It is imperative that if marquees or similar are to be used they need to be part of the premises’ risk assessments included in cleaning regimes, and monitored so as to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements
  17. Loud noises, which will require people to raise their voices or shout and therefore increase aerosol spread, must be avoided. To that end businesses should ensure that TV broadcasts and recorded music should be kept at background level. Dancing, singing and live performances are not permitted at this time.  
  18. Businesses should avoid shared activities in hospitality venues that would entail people breaching the rules on outdoor gatherings e.g. skittles, darts, pool and other ‘pub games’ and would pose a hygiene risk. Businesses are under a duty to take reasonable measures to minimise risk.  However, each proposed activity can be considered on its own merits. For example, a quiz maintaining separate groups and complying with the rules on gatherings and households (for example where each group collects a quiz sheet at the beginning of an evening and submits it at the end of the evening) would not necessarily constitute a gathering and could therefore be permissible.
  19.  Access to indoor toilets will be allowed to on-sale customers only, subject to adherence to cleaning and other protocols aimed at protecting staff and customers.  See guidance on the safe management of toilets used by the public.   
  20. Businesses are required to undertake a deep clean before any re-opening after a prolonged period of closure and to take account of potential legionella issues. (Where mains water has been turned off since the close of the premises at lockdown, when it is reconnected it will need running through to flush away any microbiological or chemical residues built up while the water supply was disconnected).  There should be thorough and regular cleaning of high contact touch points, toilets, tables etc throughout the course of the service in line with your risk assessed cleaning regime.
  21. All businesses should implement rigorous cleaning and hygiene practices in between bookings and as required during service, to keep their premises safe. Particular attention to shared services i.e. toilets etc. – see 19 above
  22. Where licensed premises provide food on a buffet basis, food should be physically put on the plate by staff rather than customers. Customers may select food from the buffet, be served from the buffet zone and return to where they are seated provided a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons at the buffet (except between two members of the same household, or carer and the person assisted by the carer). When the customer selects food from the buffet, a face covering should be worn to approach the buffet and hand sanitiser used. In order to minimise contact with high touch utensils, customers should not serve themselves from the buffet. Rigorous cleaning regimes should be maintained around the buffet area.

Useful links:

Guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses: coronavirus

UK Hospitality Cymru Guidance

Guidance to LA and places of worship on solemnisation of marriages the forming of civil partnerships and alternative wedding ceremonies.