Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Operating a hospitality business safely in national lockdown

A checklist of measures to help protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus

The Government announced that the borough moved into Tier 3 'Very High Alert' on Saturday 19 December and then Tier 4 'Stay at home restrictions' from Sunday 20 December. On Monday 4 January, the whole country moved into national lockdown.

National Lockdown 'Stay at home' - Hospitality Business

These are the priority actions to help keep your business safe and legally compliant during coronavirus. It is your responsibility to keep up to date with developments, and you should also read the full version of the guidance regarding restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to consider the guidance for shops, hotels and accommodation providers or entertainment venues.

  • Observe restrictions on opening. All hospitality and indoor entertainment settings, such as bars, pubs, social clubs, cafes and restaurants, cinemas and theatres are required to close. Sales may only continue by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

These closed premises can continue to provide:

  • Takeaway food and non-alcholic drink between 5am and 11pm. This means that customers can enter the premises to place and collect their order. Food and non-alcoholic drink can also be sold for via click and collect where orders are made online, by telephone or by post; and drive through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • Food and drinks for delivery, via click and collect and drive through only between 11pm and 5am. Click-and-collect and delivery services can only operate where goods are pre-ordered (by phone, online, via a mobile app or by post) and collected without entering the premises. Venues offering click-and-collect or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages if their license does not already permit the sale of alcohol.
  • Food or drink purchased from a hospitality premises via takeaway or click-and-collect, must not be consumed on any part of that premises, including beer gardens, as well as on any adjacent seating to the premises i.e. outside seating or benches must not be in use.

You must:

  • Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. It is a legal requirement that you undertake a risk assessment and put in place control measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
  • Ensure self-isolation requirements are complied with. It is a criminal offence to allow an employee who you know is required to self-isolate to come to your premises to work. Ensure that all staff know that they must inform you as soon as they know that they are required to self-isolate, including the start and end dates of their self-isolation period. This includes those who have received a positive Covid-19 test result or who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Failure to do so could result in a fine starting from £1,000.  
  • Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating and must not be allowed to come into work or your business.
  • Remind your customers that it is a legal requirement to wear face coverings when inside your premises, except when seated to eat or drink. You must also prominently display signs or notices to advise your customers that face coverings must be worn. Some exemptions apply. For more information visit Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own (
  • Face coverings are also required to be worn by employees in catering premises in areas that are open to the public and where staff will or are likely to come into close contact with customers, for example while providing table service. Some exemptions apply. Please note that a face shield or visor is not acceptable as a form of face covering. Use the link above to check when to wear one and exemptions.
  • Display the official NHS QR code poster for your premises and ask your customers, visitors, and staff to ‘check in’ using it on arrival. You can create the QR code poster for your business and learn more about the legal requirements to display the QR code poster.
  • Ensure that you collect the contact details of those who can’t or choose not to check in using a QR code by keeping a record of their details for 21 days. This is also a legal requirement (some exemptions apply). Use the link above to check the detailed requirements and exemptions.
  • Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details. ​
  • Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs, using floor markings or introducing a one-way system that your customers can follow.
  • Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  • Increase ventilation. Keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.  Ventilation systems should be optimised to ensure the maximum fresh air supply is provided to all areas of the premises wherever possible.
  • Keep groups apart when placing or collecting orders. Consider using barriers between groups and manage the number of customers in the venue so as to maintain social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).
  • Manage food and drink service safely. Avoid situations where customers need to collect their own food, cutlery and condiments. Minimise contact between staff and guests.
  • Lower music and other background noise. Prevent shouting, singing and dancing in the venue, and ensure music and broadcasts are played at a low volume.
  • Manage queues inside and out of your premises.  Ensure customers observe proper social distancing and don’t impact on others using pavements or queuing for other businesses.  
  • Monitor customer behaviour to ensure they follow the rules.  If they don’t, you should encourage them to do so while avoiding confrontation. 
  • We have found that problems are often avoided if the expectations of customers are made clear to them before they enter your premises.  Customers can be advised of the rules by signs, notices and your staff to help them understand and follow the requirements. This will help to ensure everyone’s safety.  

For the full Government guidance please visit Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).