Businesses continue to struggle in the wake of the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Consumers are reluctant to spend and guidelines have restricted their usual interactions with commerce. This trend cuts even more deeply for restaurants and pubs where close contact and the personal touch are very much part of the offerings.
New lockdown guidelines and restrictions are rolling out to help the NHS Track and Trace program. It’s vital that patrons visiting restaurants and pubs make themselves available to tracking through apps.
Theses measures allow businesses to remain open and seat small parties while also limiting contact and transmission opportunities for the virus. Though a sad state of affairs in light of a hoped-for normal, an open hospitality sector provides comfort and hope amid daily stress.
Read on to learn about the new measures and how they will be implemented in food and drink establishments across the country.
At this time, you really need to seek advise from a restaurant accountant.
Rules for Restaurants and Pubs
After 18 September the rule of six was placed in eateries and leisure venues throughout England. This restricts parties to a maximum of six people per table and requests that they book spots in advance.
Close contact services such as hairdressers and pedicurists are also included in this set of rules. Space between tables and customers needs to meet at least one metre with additional precautions or two metres where face coverings and shields are not practical/available.
The spacing is dependent on noise levels and other distancing measures. Keep noise levels low for music and live performances to prevent raised voices and the associated spittle that comes along with such.
Place live performances outdoors wherever possible.
Staff must wear face coverings at all times and customers are to remain masked except when seated.
Parties are not to mingle from one table to another. Restrictions on the composition of parties are also advised but clearly difficult for an establishment to know.
To help with the NHS Test and Trace serve, as of 24 September place QR code posters at the entrances so that patrons can check in as they arrive. This will give detailed logs of visitors and staff to assist in contact tracing in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 occurring at an establishment or between patrons.
The government has issued a curfew of 10:00 PM. Establishments are not to take orders for takeaways after 10 but can continue deliveries for orders placed prior to the cutoff time.
Alcohol sales are to be limited to table service. Alcohol delivered and served for takeaways follow the same rules as previously put forth.
Furthermore, supermarkets and other off-licenced establishments are also restricted by the curfew for alcohol sales. Beyond 10:00 PM alcohol is not be sold from any purveyor.
Fines and Penalties
Establishments found not enforcing the rule of six could see fines up to £4,000.
A further £10,000 penalty can be issued for failure to enforce social distancing and for not collecting contact details for patrons.
Patrons themselves can be fined £200 for failure to no wear a maks when entering an establishment or travelling from the table to restroom facilities.
This fine is for a first-time offence and escalates from there. The fine also applies to mingling and breaking the rule of six.
Collecting Contact Details
To slow the spread of coronavirus, restaurants and pubs will gather contract tracing details. Details include the name and contact information for each patron that enters, along with the time of their visit.
The NHS provides QR code posters to gather this information quickly through an associated app.
In the event a patron or an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the information will be used to anonymously alert others who were in a close time and space proximity.
Businesses are to make sure the posters are displayed and that customers are using them as they enter.
Customers Testing Positive?
Customers and staff testing positive will not automatically mean the closure of a restaurant or pub. Send home employees testing positive so they can isolate until confirming a negative test result. Test other workers in the wake of a positive test to confirm that no spread has occurred.
Ideally, an establishment should close if there is a concern of exposure. However, currently, it is in the best interest of all for places to stay open if at possible to do so safely.
When a positive test is recorded, the NHS will alert others through the Trace and Track app.
It is suggested that customers make themselves aware of the availability of seating and also of recent positive tests. The National Pubwatch app is a free service to look for outbreak clusters.
For patrons worried about exposure, the suggestion is to stay home. Better safe than not is the watchword of the times.
Updated Lockdown Rules
The government is hoping to avoid a total lockdown and has issued updated guidance to their coronavirus page.
The new rules include the usual recommendations to wash hands, wear a maks when indoors, and to keep two metres away when possible or one plus when other measures are present.
Travellers should wear face coverings when in a taxi or other private hire vehicle for their safety as well as that of the driver.
Previous suggestions to use face coverings for close contact services will become law after 24 September.
Most importantly for eateries are the curfew and strict rules to avoid encouraging self-isolating individuals to return to work.
Expect these new guidelines to stay in place until at least March 2021.
How KG Accountants can help
During this time, it’s important that restaurants and pubs take extra precautions and meet or exceed lockdown guidelines. This is in the best interest of the businesses to stay in operation and support their employees.
It can be difficult to manage a business. With so many extra guidelines, consider turning to the professionals at KG Accountants to ease the burden and help keep your business safe.
- Help and assist you to fully comply with the government guidelines on managing the risk of Covid19.
- Restaurant accounting: Forecasting – both for your own planning and for the business loan applications.
- Help prepare simple cash flow monitoring tool to ensure your road to recovery is as smooth as possible. Regular review of your profit and Loss statement.
- How to set up a payment plan with HMRC.
- Businesses who have negotiated a rent holiday.
- Our regular blog on how you can get funding during this pandemic.
- Managing your personal finances – our financial planning team’s top tips.
- If there’s anything else you need help with not listed above, please ask, and we’ll find a way.
- Arrange a FREE initial consultation.
0207 953 8913