From 27th January 2022 - Hospitality Venues - Plan A
Please note that this information is based on Government guidance, which may be subject to change.
FAQs for Hospitality Businesses
Return to Plan A - 27th January 2022
What changed in January 2022?
The Plan B Covid-19 regulations effecting hospitality businesses were lifted and England is now back under Plan A. The Government has issued guidance on how to operate in Plan A ( see links below). As a business operator you still have a responsibility to keep your staff and customers safe and help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The FAQs below are a summary of the key points. You should look at the Government Guidance for more detail.
Is there still a risk from Covid-19?
Yes, even people that have been double vaccinated and boosted can catch or carry the Covid-19 virus. The main way of spreading Covid-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with Covid-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes Covid-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person. The particles can also land on surfaces and be passed from person to person via touch.
In general, the risk of catching or passing on Covid-19 is higher:
- in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air
- in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
- people who are singing, dancing or raising their voices may breathe heavily and generate more particles which increases the risk.
Are there any social distancing rules?
All social distancing rules have been removed. There are no longer limits on groups sizes for indoor or outdoor settings and there are no Covid-19 capacity limits at venues. You should still monitor your premises to ensure there is not overcrowding.
What are the rules for face coverings?
There is no legal requirement for anyone to wear a face covering. However, the Government recommends that people wear face masks in crowded spaces
You may decide to ask your staff to continue to wear face coverings to help protect themselves, other staff and your customers.
You may also decide to encourage customers to wear face coverings in indoor spaces to protect staff and other customers. You can make a business decision that customers and visitors must wear face covering to enter your premises, but don’t forget that some people will be exempt for medical reasons and you must respect this. If you make this decision you need to make sure it is communicated clearly to your customers.
What are the rules for table service?
There is no requirement for table service. You can resume a bar service and customers can drink and eat standing. But you may wish to monitor this to make sure areas do not become congested or overcrowded.
Can I have music and singing?
There are no restrictions on singing and music. But be aware that people who are singing and dancing may breathe more heavily so think about ventilation and preventing overcrowding.
Do I have to display a QR code?
There is no legal requirement for you to display a QR code or for you to collect customers contact details. However, the Government encourages you to continue to do so as this will support NHS test and trace.
Do I still need to do a risk assessment?
As a business operator you still have a legal duty to manage risks to staff and customers.
The Government says you should carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of Covid-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Their guidance sets out a range of mitigations you should consider including:
- cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly;
- identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the premises and taking steps to improve air flow;
- ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue;
- communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place.
There is more detailed information about how to reduce risks for customers and visitors in the Government guidance for restaurants pubs and bars
Why is ventilation important?
Adequate ventilation reduces how much virus is in the air. It helps reduce the risk from aerosol transmission (when someone breathes in small particles in the air (aerosols) after a person with the virus has been in the same enclosed area). Good ventilation is even more important if other measures, such as wearing face coverings and social distancing, are relaxed.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors can be used to identify poorly ventilated areas. People exhale CO2 when they breathe out. If there is a build-up of CO2 in an area it can indicate that ventilation needs improving.
Why is communication important?
You should communicate to your staff and customers what you have put in place to reduce risk. The public may be confused and there will be varying requirements in each premises based on their individual risk assessments. Use clear signage or other means so that your customers understand your expectations.
What if my staff or customers have Covid-19 symptoms?
If any staff have Covid-19 symptoms they should self isolate immediately and get a PCR test. They must also self isolate if told to do so by NHS test and trace, for example if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. You might want staff to regularly use the rapid self tests which are easily available from pharmacists or to order on-line. They must report to the NHS if they test positive.
You should not permit customers who have tested positive for Covid-19 or have Covid-19 symptoms into your premises.
If a staff member or customer tests positive for Covid-19 you could run the risk that all your staff will have to self isolate and stay at home. So having things in place, as recommended in the Government Guidance, should help to reduce this risk and keep your premises open.