How are pubs and restaurants keeping customers safe?

As we wrote about previously, pubs, restaurants, hotels and bars have now reopened across England, with Scotland and Wales to soon follow.

But how safe are they?

There have been a wide range of government guidelines imposed measures on pubs, restaurants, hotels and bars intended to keep customers, as well as staff, safe.

These typically included;

  • Capturing customers contact details for aiding Track and Trace
  • Increased social distancing measures
  • Option to order food and drinks via a mobile app
  • Music to be kept to a minimum to avoid the need for staff members to shout, ultimately reducing the need and risk to getting close to be heard
  • Customers encouraged, where possible, to book tables in advance
  • Measured and controlled access to toilets and smaller areas

Reduced menus and other changes

Some pub chains such as Wetherspoons have announced a reduction in food menus, with staff provided face shields or face masks, and in some cases, protective eyewear.

Typical table items such as bottles of ketchup or sauce have been replaced with individual sachets, and cutlery is kept in a sanitised location, inaccessible from customers and brought out with food.

Social distancing, originally set firmly at 2m, has now been reduced to ‘1m plus’ in England.

Contact details for track and trace

The UK pub and hospitality trade bodies have provided guidance for pubs, restaurants, bars and hotels on how to operate contact tracing.

The guidance is clear;

  • Contact details need only be taken from a single person in a group
  • Details to be kept for a minimum of 21 days
  • Customers are only required to provide their full name and phone number – it is up to the business owners to note their arrival time and the length of stay
  • Details can be taken either online, during a phone booking or on paper in person
  • It is up to the discretion of the customer not to give information, but the business owner can choose not to serve them

What happens if a customer tests positive?

If a customer tests positive, does the pub, restaurant, hotel or bar have to close? Not necessarily.

The official government advice says that a positive test from an NHS Track and Trace call does not always mean an immediate closure of the location.

There are a variety of circumstances taken into consideration, and the NHS Track and Trace could ask business owners and staff to;

  • Get immediately tested for Covid-19
  • Introduce additional measures for social distancing
  • Self-isolate certain members of staff that may have had closer contact to the infected person

A local pub, The Lighthouse in Highbridge, recently had to close following a positive test for a customer. This was quickly dealt with in the appropriate way, but highlights the risks that are still present.

Reduced Capacity

The biggest and most immediate change, will have been the reduction in customer numbers to pubs and restaurants.

Business owners will have had to make the difficult decision on whether to open with a significantly reduced capacity, or introduce other measures such as protective screens (‘sneeze screens’) between tables at a cost.

Some establishments with large beer gardens will have been able to maximise the use of these with appropriately spaced tables, but those smaller, more rural pubs and restaurants will struggle the most.

Defend+ – helping to keep you safe

Whilst we can’t help with everything (we wish we could!), our portable hand sanitiser dispensers have proved hugely successful, with installs across all aspects of the hospitality trade, from all corners of the South West.

Strategically placed at ‘pinch points’, these hygienic dispensers provide a simple and portable solution to ensure customers and staff can quickly and safely sanitise their hands on entry or exit.

Drop us a line to find out more and how we can help.


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