What do the New COVID Restrictions Mean for the Hospitality Sector?

The news that social gatherings in the UK will be restricted to only six people will undoubtedly come as a blow to a hospitality industry still reeling from the first lockdown imposed in March of this year.

Indeed, industry analysts are warning that the latest measures will be catastrophic for the sector, possibly wiping billions of pounds out of the market. The hardest-hit businesses will probably be bars, restaurants, and resorts – places which typically benefit enormously from the typical Christmas-time boom in reservations and spending.

New legal duties for hospitality venues

Although hospitality companies have always faced operating restrictions since the reopening of July 4th, this time is different. Police will now have the capacity to enforce social distancing measures within places, handing out #1000 penalties to individuals who don’t comply with the most recent legislation. Firms are also now required by legislation collect contact details for the NHS Test & Trace strategy – something which was previously only advisory.

However, undoubtedly the biggest change is that the new rule forcing hospitality venues to close by 10pm. This comes alongside new constraints which stipulate that bars, restaurants, and cafes must function with table support only.

1 positive, however, is that hospitality companies will have the ability to provide delivery services after 10 pm.

The new measures have increased understandable concerns from companies in the hospitality industry, which has incurred huge losses this season. Business owners were hoping that after the lockdown rules were relaxed in the summer, customers would start to return in greater numbers throughout the fall and winter.

However, others, such as Kate Nicolls of Hospitality UK, are somewhat more positive, deciding to see the new steps as an intervention effective at staving off another full-scale lockdown, and the catastrophic damage such an imposition would lead to.

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What are the new rules for hospitality companies?

  • Groups of over 6 are now banned from meeting anywhere, both inside and outside
  • Venues have a legal responsibility to collect customer contact details for Test & Trace
  • Venues must close by 10pm
  • Pubs, restaurants, and cafes must operate with table support just

What measures can hospitality companies take to stay compliant?

It’s now vital for places to implement a robust system for collecting and storing customer contact details. Businesses will have to collect the name, phone number, and date and time of visit from customers at the point of entrance. This data will have to be kept for a maximum of 21 days.

Perhaps the biggest change for bars and restaurants is that they’ll now be legally required to turn off groups of more than six guests. Implementing an internet booking system is 1 way to vet reservations, and make sure that all classes consist of six people or fewer.

Besides ensuring your restaurant stays compliant, there are additional actions you can take to protect your earnings and margin.

Consider implementing a slimmed-down menu if you are expecting fewer covers, and ensure that you’ve integrated with an ordering and deliver associate, such as Deliveroo, so you can maximise your business’ reach. Lastly, it’s sensible to reevaluate your floor-plan in light of these changes, ensuring that you allow for at least one metre of space between tables.

To find out more and tips, explore our complete 9 step guide to reopening a hospitality company, where you will find detail advice and guidance on the measures venues should take to stay both compliant and rewarding.





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