Social Distancing Halved to Help Restaurants Reopen

The government has announced that the two-metre social distancing rule in England will be halved to facilitate the reopening of restaurants, hotels, and the wider hospitality industry on 4 July.

This move will increase the capacity of many hospitality businesses from 30% to 60% according the hospitality industry trade body, UK Hospitality.

While the Prime Minister has said that people should remain two metres apart where possible, if it’s not possible in your hospitality business, then you can observe the ‘one metre plus’ rule, which requires you to mitigate the risks.

This news has been widely welcomed by the hospitality industry. It allows many restaurants that are ‘crowded by design’ to be able to reopen, and eases the burden imposed by reduced capacity on the majority of hospitality businesses.

The Government will be releasing sector-specific guidance on how businesses can reopen and operate safely; it is reported these measures could include strict limits on customer numbers inside, strict distancing in dining rooms, pre-bookings, and queues outside. Other ‘leaked’ guidance reported by the Times could include napkins and cutlery being brought to tables with food, use of single-use disposable menus, and condiments to be brought to tables on request with no salt and pepper mills placed on tables.

Whilst the relaxation of the two metre rule is welcomed news, the hospitality industry still has a very difficult period ahead. The ‘one metre plus’ distancing rule (which equates to a 2 metre diameter) allows for around 45% of revenue, according to Jane Pendlebury, the CEO of Hospitality Professionals Association.

Whilst this still poses huge challenges and risks, thorough planning and implementation of a variety of measures will give restaurant operators the ability to head in the right direction after 4 July.

Many restaurant and hotel managers have been busy preparing to reopen. We have put together a comprehensive guide and checklist to help restaurants reopen their doors, which you can download by clicking the link on the right.

If you have any questions, we’d be more than happy to answer these for you – just drop us a message.

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