Gov reopening guidance

What is the Government's guidance for post-lockdown pubs?

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Help provided: the guidance covers a plethora of advice on how pubs can reopen safely
Help provided: the guidance covers a plethora of advice on how pubs can reopen safely

Related tags Coronavirus

Risk assessments, customer and employee safety, and how to manage toilets are three of the points made in the Government’s guidelines on how pubs can reopen on 4 July.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday (Tuesday 23 June) pubs and restaurants can reopen next month​, with Covid-secure measures.

The 43-page guidance document​, Keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways services​, has been prepared by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from businesses, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations, and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. It is expected to be updated over time.

The topics covered are:

Risk assessment

Risk assessments must be undertaken for reopening and failure to do so, could result in a breach of health and safety law.

This will be monitored by an enforcing authority, such as the health and safety executive or the local authority.

The results of the risk assessment must be shared with the workforce and if possible, on a business’ website and it would be expected all employers with more than 50 workers to do so.

A notification should be displayed in a prominent place in the pub and on the website.

Keeping customers safe

Operators should consider the cumulative impact of many venues reopening in a small area, which means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations.

Pubs should also look at reconfiguring furniture to maintain distancing guidelines, working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities, safe queuing spaces and clear signage on hygiene.

The guidelines also state operators should make customers aware of gathering limits, take the needs of disabled customers into account and ensure precautions are taken in the event of adverse weather conditions.

One-way systems should be considered and families with children should be reminded they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.

When it comes to children’s play areas, indoor and soft play areas need to be kept closed and outdoor playgrounds should be managed safely.

Businesses should determine if schedules for essential services and contractor visits can be revised to help reduce interaction and overlap between people such as carrying out services at night.

Assisting NHS Test and Trace

It also outlined operators should keep a temporary record of customers for 21 days in way "that is manageable for your business" and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed in a bid to help contain clusters or outbreaks.

The Government will be working with the industry and relevant bodes to design this system in line with data protection legislation and set out details shortly.

Management of food and drink for customers at the pub

Staff should continue to maintain social distancing from customers when taking orders and minimising customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments. Waiting staff could provide cutlery and condiments once food is served.

Disposable condiments or cleaning non-disposable condiment containers after each use should be carried out.

Contactless payments should be encouraged where possible and the location of card readers should be adjusted to distancing guidelines.

Contact between front of house and customers at points of service should be minimised where appropriate, which could mean using screens or tables at tills and counters.

Management of food and drink for takeaway or delivery

Ordering online or via phone should be encouraged and when it comes to staff, contact between kitchen workers and front of house works, delivery drivers or riders should be minimised.

Limit access to venues for people waiting for or collecting takeaways, which could mean customers should wait outside or in their cars.


Safety precautions such as signage should be considered as well as social distance markings where queues usually form, alongside a limited-entry approach.

Ventilation should also be considered and more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

Employee safety

This also involves more frequent hand washing and surface cleaning, the use of screens or barriers to separate workers where possible, using back-to-back or side-to-side working wherever possible and shift patterns worked out so each person only works with a few others.

Operators could stagger arrival and departure times, provide additional parking or facilities to encourage using other modes of transport other than public transport and, wash uniforms on site.

Working service areas should be assigned to an individual as much as possible.

When it comes to food and the kitchen areas, access should be available to as few people as possible and this is the same for walk-in fridges etc.


At the time of writing (Wednesday 24 June) pubs should not permit live performances to take place in front of a live audience.

Licensees should ensure steps are taken to avoid people raising their voices due to the potential of an increased risk of transmission.

Online ticketing and online or contactless payments for entertainment should be encouraged where possible.


To reduce touchpoints, doors (that aren’t fire doors) should be wedged open. Rigorous cleaning of surfaces and objects between customer use should be undertaken.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is dependent on the risk assessment taken. If this shows it is required, employers must provide it free-of-charge to workers who need it.

Related topics Health & safety

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