Advice for Hospitality Businesses 

New regulations came into effect on 18 September 2020 and place specific legal duties on businesses like pubs cafes and restaurants to ensure social distancing between their customers. The regulations require that businesses which sell food and drink to eat on their premises must:

• Not take bookings for a table for a group of more than six people. 
• Not admit persons to your premises in a group of more than six.
• Not allow persons in different groups to mingle with people in another group.

There are a number of exemptions to these requirements for instance where a group of more than six is made up of people from the same household or support bubble.

Businesses which sell food and drink to eat on their premises must are also now legally required to maintain a distance of at least two metres between tables occupied by different groups of people.
This can only be reduced to one metre between tables if:

• There are barriers or screens between tables. 
• The tables are arranged with back to back seating, or otherwise arranged to ensure that persons sitting at one table do not face any person sitting at another table at a distance of less than two metres,
• Other measures are taken to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus between people sitting at different tables.

Not meeting the above requirements is an offence for which businesses can be prosecuted. However the offence can be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice issued to business owners who don’t meet the above standard. These fixed penalty notices are set at £1,000 for the first fixed penalty issued, reduced to £500 if paid before the end of the period of 14 days. It is £2,000 for the second fixed penalty and £4,000 for the third and any subsequent fixed penalty.

Guidance for pubs, cafes and restaurants can be found on the Government's website. Following it will help limit the spread of Covid 19.