Indoor sport at pubs not in the spirit of Covid-secure guidance

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Game off: games of pool or darts would not be in the spirit of ensuring customers stay seated when at a pub
Game off: games of pool or darts would not be in the spirit of ensuring customers stay seated when at a pub

Related tags: Coronavirus

Pubs should discourage customers from playing games such as pool or darts when they reopen from 4 July in accordance with the Government’s guidelines on how to limit the potential spread of Covid-19.

Government guidance does not specifically make any reference to indoor games such as pool or darts, prompting several readers of The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ to question the issue.

However the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has clarified that permitting customers to play games indoors is not in the spirit of its Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services​ guidance document.

What’s more, BEIS pointed to section two of the guidance document which outlines that pubs should enable customers to remain seated as much as possible while in hospitality venues. 

Surface contact

Section 2.2 Managing service of food and drink at a venue states: “Reducing the number of surfaces touched by both staff and customers. For example, asking customers to remain at a table where possible, or to not lean on counters when collecting takeaways."

The need to reduce queueing, congestion and contact between customers as they move through a venue is also emphasised throughout the guidance.

Indoor and soft play areas must be kept closed, as per section 1.1 of the document.

Another section of the 43-page document 4.5 Entertainment suggests pubs should not encourage any activities which could result in boisterous behaviour, owing to the risk of aerosol transmission of Covid-19.

It states: “All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission. 

“We will develop further guidance, based on scientific evidence, to enable these activities as soon as possible.”

The clarification comes as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) made clear indoor sport is still not permitted, affecting snooker and pool clubs.

DCMS told the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards: “Licensed premises will be able to open from 4 July in their capacity as bars and restaurants but not for indoor sport use. Any opening will need to follow the Government’s guidance for pubs, bars and restaurants.”

Related topics: Sport

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