What is the guidance for soft play areas in pubs?

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government rules: ball pits should be closed at present
Government rules: ball pits should be closed at present

Related tags: Health and safety, Legislation

The Morning Advertiser takes a look at how pubs with children’s soft play can ensure these areas are Covid-secure.

Alongside the guidance for pubs​ overall, which is now law and includes risk assessments, keeping customers safe and assisting NHS Test and Trace, operators who have indoor play areas for children should also be a ware of the specific guidance for this.

For soft play areas and frames, an enhanced cleaning routine must be established, documented, trialled and practiced to ensure all surfaces can be effectively cleaning prior to reopening.

Separate sensory rooms should be closed as should ball pits.

Floor markings

Before anyone is permitted to enter the soft play frame, they need to apply hand sanitiser upon entry.

Where customers are required to queue, clear social distancing floor markings are required in the form of boxes, hatching and floor graphics.

The capacity of the soft play frame must be calculated to allow for the current guidance on social distancing.

Ongoing process

On the basis of normal play frame capacity calculations, which is based on active floor area, capacity will be reduced to a maximum of 40%. This is based on the total number of users including parents or guardians who are supervising.

Operators will need to demonstrate calculation methods and justification for their capacity numbers. This will need to be monitored when in use as part of the ongoing risk assessment process, to ensure capacities deliver social distancing requirements and evidence would need to be available for an inspecting officer.

It is down to each venue to adopt the process suitable for their setting. This could include:

  • Separate entrance and exit points, which are staffed to monitor numbers.
  • Control via groups such as coloured wristbands.
  • Signage displayed at the entrance.
  • Encouraging parents to accompany children
  • Total centre capacity not exceeding the total number of people allowed within the area.

The full guidance for indoor play areas for children can be read here​.

Related topics: Legislation

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