Coronavirus: Guidance and Resources for U.K. Restaurants

The Resy Team
Posted by  The Resy Team  on Jun 25, 2020 11:30:00 AM

We have been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation with regards to COVID-19. As you take measures to ensure the wellbeing of your staff and guests, and continue providing hospitality in a time of huge uncertainty, know that Resy is here to support you. These are challenging times, and we are committed to standing by you during this time of crisis. We will be presenting guidance that we have aggregated across the industry. 

The original post was modified as of 8 July at 11:49 to reflect new updates

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Reopening the Economy

England

From 4 July, the two metre rule is to be relaxed to "one metre plus" where 2m is not possible - but people will be encouraged to have mitigation in place to reduce transmission. 

From 4 July pub and restaurants will be allowed to open both indoors and outdoors if they institute safety guidelines, including table service only

Face coverings have been recommended in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, such as on public transport or in some shops. Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances. A face covering does not equate to a face-mask such as surgical masks or respirators which are used as part of personal protective equipment (PPE) by healthcare and other workers. PPE supplies must continue to be reserved for those who need it. It is important to properly use face-coverings and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Northern Ireland

From 29 June, social distancing will be reduced to 1 metre for the hospitality and tourism sector where appropriate mitigations are made (i.e. face coverings, exposure times). More details to come regarding mitigations

Restaurants, cafés, coffee shops will be permitted to open from 3 July. The indoor spaces of pubs and bars will also be permitted to open from the 3 July on a table service basis (people will not be permitted to order either food or drink from the bar area). Pubs and bars with outdoor spaces, such as beer gardens, will be able to serve alcohol (where their licence permits them to do so) in these spaces on a table service basis.

Scotland

From 6 July, outdoor hospitality can reopen subject to physical distancing. 

From 15 July, indoor hospitality can reopen subject to physical distancing. More information to come around physical distancing requirements being amended from 2m to 1m.

scotland reopening

On 18 June a checklist for tourism and hospitality businesses was published. Use this checklist alongside other resources including guidance prepared by Food Standards Scotland to create a re-start plan which includes hygiene considerations, social distancing, PPE and requisite staff training. For additional resources please refer to UKHospitality Scottish Protocols.

For businesses without union representation, union health and safety representatives will be available upon request to support the development of creating a risk assessment posed by COVID-19. Should you wish to use this service, please email safety@stuc.org.uk.

Wales

Pubs, cafes and restaurants can already be open to provide takeaway services including both hot or cold food prepared for collection or delivery. Over the three weeks from 18 June there will be detailed discussions between the Welsh Government and the sector about the options and potential phases for opening the hospitality sector, including pubs, cafes and restaurants, under social distancing.

From 13 July, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen. Wales minister for international relations Baroness Eluned Morgan said any businesses able to reopen in this way would be “expected to comply with clear guidelines such as pre-booking and table service”. 

There is not a confirmed date for reopening indoor hospitality services. 

For additional resources please refer to UKHospitality Welsh Guidance.

Reopening Safely During COVID-19

Each business will need to translate guidance into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of their business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated. They will also need to monitor these measures to make sure they continue to protect guests and staff. The guidance does not supersede any existing legal obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, contractors and employees, suppliers and others who may access your premises. To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards.

Risk Assessment

If you have not already done so, you should carry out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace as soon as possible including a review of statutory test certifications. Health and safety law requires all employers to assess the risk of returning to work while the coronavirus outbreak is ongoing, to take preventative measures to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practical level and to put steps in place to manage that risk. Risk assessments must also be completed for safe goods processes for food, alcohol, laundry etc.

Employers have a duty to consult their staff on health and safety by conducting an in-depth risk assessment with constructive engagement and input from your team and anyone else sharing the workplace, including suppliers. Through this partnership, not only can it better identify risks or concerns, but also will enable you to build a trusting partnership with your team during the development and review of new health and safety practises as well as feeling safe and supported when returning to work. In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 or have protected characteristics which might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.

The results of the risk assessment must be shared with your team. The government expects all business to demonstrate to staff and customers they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate mitigating actions. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (the Government expects all businesses with over 50 workers to do so). 

Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law.

If you're already open, the government recommends using the updated guidance to identify further improvements you should make and review existing measures are working. 

There are interactive tools available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to assist in informing your decisions and identifying sensible measures to control the risk in your workplace. Mental health  should also be factored into the risk assessment with available resources signposted to help staff manage issues like stress and isolation. Once complete, ensure the result of the risk assessment is visible and communicated to employees. 

Compliance

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA), your local authority Environmental Health Services will usually be the relevant enforcing authority for how you control the risk of coronavirus. 

Local authorities also have powers under public health legislation for covering whether businesses should be operating, the requirement to take all reasonable measures to maintain 2 metres distancing, or to ensure your workers in the shielded category can follow the NHS advice to self-isolate for the period specified.

Where the enforcing authority identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with public health guidance to control COVID-19 health risks to workers (including not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing where possible), they will consider a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks, including the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises. Serious breaches or failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines or even imprisonment for up to 2 years. 

Below is a summary of the COVID-19 Secure Guidance for restaurants. Public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; the guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For advice to businesses in other parts of the UK please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government.

The Government has endorsed the UKHospitality Protocols to support COVID Secure reopening across all devolved administrations. Included is scientific guidance as well as support for operators including a risk assessment template.   

Test and Trace

The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days via your reservations system, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. If you do not already take reservations, you should do so to help fight the virus as this could help contain clusters or outbreaks. 

When collecting contact information, inform your guests and staff the importance of NHS Test and Trace and explain why you are asking for such information and encourage them to provide it. If a guest informs you they do not want to share their details with NHS Test and Trace, they can choose to opt-out. This will help to avoid the reintroduction of lockdown measures and support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life. 

There is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in premises, like restaurants and pubs offering on-site service whether indoors or outdoors, where guests spend a longer time in one place and come into close contact with other people outside of their household. 

The information below should be collected where possible:

  • Names of both guests and staff
    • If the guest made a reservation for more than 1 person, record the name of the primary reservation holder
  • Contact Phone Number 
    • For guests, either the contact number of each guest or the primary reservation holder of the reservation
  • Dates; arrival and departure of both the guest and staff. By recording both arrival and departure times, it will help reduce the number of people NHS Test and Trace will need to contact. 

If you already use a reservations system, use it to collect the requisite information. If you don't collect the above information at time of booking, the information should be collected at the point when guests enter your premises. Ideally, the information should be collected digitally. Furthermore, encourage advanced reservations only to manage the number of people on the premises. 

Maintaining records and GDPR

The data being collected for NHS Test and Trace  must be handled in accordance with GDPR. GDPR allows you to request contact information from your staff and guests and share it with NHS Test and Trace. It is not necessary to seek consent from each person, but you should make clear why the information is being collected and the intended use of the information via a notice on your premises or on your website.

If you already collect information for ordinary business purposes, such as for reservations, that can be used for NHS Test and Trace, you should make staff, guests and visitors aware that their contact information may now also be shared with NHS Test and Trace. This data does not need to be disposed of after 21 days. 

The requirement to dispose of the data securely or deleted relates to a record that is created solely for the purpose of NHS Test and Trace. When deleting or disposing of data, you must do so in a way that does not risk unintended access (e.g. shredding paper documents and ensuring permanent deletion of electronic files). All collected data, however, must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and should not be kept for longer than is necessary.

Personal data that is collected for NHS Test and Trace, which you would not collect in your usual course of business, must be used only to share with NHS Test and Trace. It must not be used for other purposes such as marketing or other purposes unrelated to contact tracing, or you will be in breach of GDPR. 

Ensuring staff safety

Before reopening, conduct an assessment for all sites, or parts of sites, that have been closed, before restarting work. Where premises have been empty due to lockdown, thorough safety checks should be conducted on gas and electrical installations, water cooler and ventilation checks, particularly regarding Legionella risks and pest control checks should be conducted to avoid infestation problems. (Guidance on reopening food businesses)

Communicating with your team
  • Provide clear, consistent and regular communication and signage to improve understanding, consistency of new ways of working, maintain hygiene standards and help with adoption.
  • Continued engagement with your team and representatives through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to their work environment
  • Use simple messages using images and clear language with consideration for those which English may not be their first language and those with visual impairments.
  • Use signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available. Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards. 
  • Use visual communications to explain changes to rotas or stock shortages to minimise face to face communications (social distancing)
Keeping your team safe
  • Developing communication and training materials for your team prior to returning to work, especially around new procedures for arrival at work.
  • Training your staff on changes to existing procedures, recipes and hygiene measures is essential prior to or upon return to work. Businesses should consider an induction process for all staff. This can have the positive effect of increasing confidence among the employees by communicating the business is taking risks seriously, have adapted their working environment accordingly and are emphasising individual responsibilities. 
  • Consider conducing a pilot test to find weaknesses, familiarise staff with new procedures and make improvements before a full reopening is undertaken. confirms the value of trialling new ways of working before a fuller restart is attempted. 
  • Establish a daily check-in system: ask staff to disclose their own health or health of a member of their household when they come to work
  • Have a designated staff member be the COVID Champion who is responsible for hourly checks for front-of-house separation, the correct use of PPE and other agreed upon controls
  • As an employer, you cannot decide who the COVID champion will be. This should be a continuation of existing processes to involve employees in optimising health and safety outcomes.
  • Keep a temporary record of your staff shift patterns for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.
Who should go to work?
  • Consider who is essential to be on site; those not in customer-facing roles such as administrative staff should work from home if at all possible.
  • Planning for the minimum number of people on the premises to operate safely and effectively
  • Assessing if any of your team are at higher risk and ensuring actions taken as a result of the risk assessment do not disproportionately impact those with vulnerabilities
  • Determining if any of your team who are advised to stay at home do not physically come to work
Work Travel (i.e. between sites)
  • Clean shared vehicles between shifts or on handover
  • Maintain fixed travel partners
  • Implement procedures to minimise person-to-person contact when visiting other sites
  • See government guidance on travelling to and from work.

Sanitation & hygiene

  • If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should refer to the specific guidance
  • Enhancing sanitation for busy areas and high frequency touch points (i.e. light switches, counters, tills, handles etc) and making sure adequate disposal arrangement for cleaning products
  • Cleaning surfaces and objects between each guest use including tables, card machines, chairs, laminated menus (in view of guest before guest use), etc. 
    • If using paper menus, dispose after each use.
  • Increasing the frequency of hand-washing and surface cleaning, or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical
    • Washing hands after handling goods, customer items and before moving onto another task. For example, after collecting used plates for cleaning and before serving food to another table.
    • Washing hands before handling plates, takeaway boxes, cutlery, etc.
  • Providing hand-sanitising stations at entry and exit points, in multiple locations in addition to washrooms
  • Maintaining good ventilation in the work environment (i.e. opening windows and wedging doors open, where appropriate, not fire doors)
  • Toilets: setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
    • Consider using social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach, with one in, one out (whilst avoiding the creation of additional bottlenecks).
    • To enable good hand hygiene consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe and practical, and ensure suitable handwashing facilities are available.
    • Keep the facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open where appropriate.
    • Putting up a visible cleaning schedule can keep it up to date and visible.
    • Use normal cleaning products, paying attention to frequently hand touched surfaces, and consider use of disposable cloths or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces.
    • Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.
  • Where shower and changing facilities are required, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
  • Cleaning procedures for goods and merchandise entering the site and parts of shared equipment you touch before each use
  • Enhanced handling procedures of laundry to achieve disinfection and prevent potential contamination of surrounding surfaces, to prevent raising dust or dispersing the virus
  • Providing storage for staff clothes and bags. Requesting staff change into work uniforms on site using appropriate facilities/changing areas, where social distancing and hygiene guidelines can be met. Washing uniforms on site, where appropriate, or requesting workers to regularly wash uniforms at home.
  • Work out what needs cleaning or disinfecting every day, or more than once a day, and what needs cleaning less frequently using usual cleaning products. Your schedule should show:
    • what needs to be cleaned and how often it needs to be done
    • what needs to be disinfected and how often it needs to be done
    • how the cleaning/disinfecting should be done
    • what cleaning products should be used, how to use them and how to store them
  • Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.
  • Detergents clean the surface and remove grease, but they do not kill bacteria and viruses. (FSA Cleaning Effectively)
  • Disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses, and should be used on a visibly clean surface. They do not work effectively if the surface is covered in grease or visible dirt. It is also important that you leave the product on the surface for the time specified in the instructions.
    • Disinfection products should meet the BS EN standards
  • Sanitisers can be used as the first step in a 2-stage process. 
    • Stage 1: to remove dirt, food or grease
    • Stage 2:  Re-apply to the visibly clean surface and leave for the required time to disinfect the surface.
  • If the products routinely used are not available
    • Seek approved, food-safe alternatives
    • Both alcohol-based sanitisers/surface disinfectants (in concentrations of 70-80%) and common disinfectants based on ammonium compounds or chlorine (bleach), can be effective. They can be applied either as a combined detergent-disinfectant solution or when adopting a two-stage approach as a disinfectant following cleaning with a detergent. In either case, food contact surfaces should be washed down with water to prevent chemical contamination of food.
  • If you use a domestic vehicle (or a non-food industry business vehicle) to transport groceries or food orders, our guidance for businesses that supply or produce food on the move provides more information about hygiene requirements and vehicle specifications.
    • If vehicles or containers have been used for transporting anything other than food, effective cleaning is required between loads to avoid the risk of contamination.

Social distancing

From 29 June in Northern Ireland and 4 July in England only, the two metre rule is to be relaxed to "one metre plus" where 2m is not possible - but people will be encouraged to have mitigation in place to reduce transmission.   

Social distancing be maintained wherever possible, including at entrances and exits, on the premises, between any person waiting to enter the premises etc. except between 2 members of the same household or support bubble.

  • Reducing congestion
    • By having more entry points to the venue if possible. 
    • If you have more than one door, consider having one for entering the building and one for exiting. Using markings to guide staff coming into or leaving the building.
    • Staggering shifts to reduce crowding at entrances and exits
    • Staggering break times to reduce pressure on the staff break rooms or places to eat and ensuring social distancing is maintained in staff break rooms. Using safe outside areas for breaks. Using social distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, lockers and changing rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form.
    • Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
  • Evaluate your floor plan to account for the wider guidance on group size
    • Up to two households (including support bubbles) indoors, and up to either two households (or support bubbles) or six people from more than two households outdoors.
    • It is against the law to gather in groups of more than 30 people, except for the limited circumstances as set out in law.
  • Evaluate the floor plan, see where congestion, "pinch points" occur and how to mitigate (i.e. corridors, stockrooms or around corners)
    • Reviewing layouts and processes to allow staff to work further apart from each other
      • Only where it is not possible to move working areas further apart, arranging people to work side-by-side or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face wherever possible
      • If people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead.
    • Reconfiguring indoor and outdoor seating and tables to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) between customers of different households or support bubbles.
    • Reviewing entry and exit routes for customers, visitors and contractors to minimise contact with other people. Calculate the maximum number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable
    • Adjusting put-away and replenishment rules to create space for social distancing
    • Introducing a one-way flow routes through the buildings via signage that clearly indicate the direction of flow.
    • Managing use of high traffic areas including, corridors, lifts and staircases to maintain social distancing.
    • Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable).
    • If there's a lift in your building: reduce maximum occupancy for lifts, provide hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encourage use of stairs wherever possible. 
  • Queue and Capacity Management
    • Reduce the need for customers to queue, but where this is unavoidable, discourage customers from queueing indoors and use outside spaces where available and safe.
    • Managing outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks
    • Manage the entry of customers through a reservations system and/or social distancing markers, and the number of customers at a venue, so that all indoor customers are seated with appropriate distancing, and those outdoors have appropriately spaced seating or standing room.
  • Where social distancing cannot be maintained due to venue design, sufficient mitigation strategies should be designed and implemented.
  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff. 

Food preparation and service

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

Adjusting service approaches to minimise staff contact with guests. 
  • Indoor table service must be used where possible, alongside further measures such as assigning a single staff member per table. 
  • Encourage outdoor table service, customers are permitted to stand outside if distanced appropriately. 
  • Where bar or counter service is unavoidable, prevent customers from remaining at the bar or counter after ordering.
Minimising Spread
  • Spacing workstations (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable), recognising the difficulty of moving equipment such as sinks, hobs and ovens. Consider cleanable panels to separate workstations in larger kitchens.
  • Putting teams into shifts to restrict the number of workers interacting with each other. 
  • Allowing kitchen access to as few people as possible. 
  • Work areas should be assigned to one person as much as possible; if they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest number of people as possible.
  • For people who work in one place (i.e. cashiers) working areas should allow them to maintain social distancing from one another and guests
  • Minimising access to walk-in pantries, fridges and freezers (i.e. only one person being able to access these areas at one point in time)
  • Reducing movement within a venue by discouraging non-essential trips and restricting
    access to some areas. Encourage use of technology when sending orders from service areas to kitchens and cleaning them between use.
  • Reducing job and location rotation by assigning staff to specific areas or keeping them dedicated to one venue.
Minimising contact at ‘handover’ points, such as when presenting food to serving staff, paying suppliers and delivery drivers.
  • Minimising contact during payments and exchange of documentation by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.
  • Avoiding transmission from sharing pens and other objects.
  • Encouraging contactless payments where possible and adjusting location of card readers to social distancing guidelines. If accepting cash, review how to minimise risk when handling
  • Minimising self service of food, cutlery and condiments by providing cutlery and condiments only when food is served.
  • Providing only disposable condiments or cleaning non-disposable containers after each use
  • Prevent customers from congregating at points of service by having only staff collect and return empty glasses to the bar.
  • Following government guidance on managing food preparation and food service areas.
Deliveries (See Government Guidance on Food Safety for Delivery)
  • Considering methods to reduce frequency of deliveries (larger quantities, less often).
  • Revising pick up and drop off collection points, procedures and signage, by having zones from which delivery drivers can collect packaged food items (non-contact delivery
  • Having single workers or same pairs of people load or unload deliveries where safe
  • Ensuring that delivery drivers or riders maintain good hygiene and wash their hands regularly and enabling drivers to access to welfare facilities when required
  • Encouraging drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice 
  • Check procedures around the safe decanting and unwrapping of food

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly over the mouth and nose.
  • Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID19.
  • When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.
  • There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms.
Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and government would therefore not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.
  • Wearing a face covering is optional. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting them on and taking them off.
  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching it or your face, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
  • Change if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • Change and wash your face covering daily
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly
If gloves are used, they should be changed as often as you would wash hands and you must wash your hands when changing or removing gloves. The COVID-19 virus (and other viruses and bacteria) can contaminate gloves in the same way it gets onto hands. Gloves must be changed after carrying out non-food related activities (i.e. opening and closing doors by hand, handling money and emptying bins). Food workers should avoid touching their mouth and eyes when wearing gloves.

Communicate With Your Guests

As restrictions relax, guests could be hesitant to return. Let your guests know you've taken steps to follow COVID-19 guidelines and implemented a process to maintain cleanliness and social distancing by putting up the official UK-wide industry and consumer mark for hospitality,  “We’re Good To Go” , to provide confidence for the sector as it reopens. This is free to join and open to all businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector. There is a checklist confirming necessary processes were put in place before receiving the certification and displaying it online and in their premises. 

As guests increasingly practise social distancing, keep the community you’ve built informed; not only is it a valuable way to let your regulars know of your activities, but as people go out less, retaining a sense of normality will be key in the long run. Advise them why postponing their bookings instead of cancelling is better. Notify your guests about gift card options to help your restaurant with incremental cash-flow to help weather the crisis, and keep on top of social media to help guests keep you top-of-mind, and to promote new dishes or menu items.

Update your guests via email and social channels about your restaurant’s status and any promotions for when trade returns to normal. Use targeted emails; the more specific the better, because it will lead to higher open rates and greater interaction. For more suggestions and examples, check out Resy's Communicating With Your Guests During the Coronavirus post

Communicate how you're keeping guests safe

  • Providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to guests before (i.e. during the online booking process, by phone, on the website, on social channels or by email) and upon arrival (i.e. signage, visual aids) and to ensure compliance with your requirements and that any community concerns are addressed
    • Include what actions you will take if guest fail to comply with your safety measures
  • Using signs and posters to inform guests of how should behave at your venue to keep everyone safe including to build awareness of good hand washing technique, the need to increase hand washing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into your arm. 
  • Making regular announcements to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly.
  • Advise patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the restaurant.

The Government’s Economic Measures

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, how-to videos from the government in link):

Flexible Furlough: From 1 July through October, employers will have complete flexibility to decide on the right arrangements for them and their staff, including bringing staff back part time or on reduced hours whilst remaining on furlough. The employer will pay the worker in full for the hours worked, and the government furlough payment will top up their usual pay for the same period. The employer can set any amount of hours to be worked (including zero hours) on a weekly basis. The requirement to be furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks will be removed during this period.

flexible furlough

The Treasury has published new detailed guidance on the changes to CJRS being introduced from 1 July, in particular the normal salary for flexible furlough.

  • The number of employees you can claim for in any period from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending 30 June.
  • You must make a final claim up to and including 30 June – claims prior to this date can be any length but claims after 1 July must start and end within the same calendar month and must last at least 7 days. You should match your claim period to the dates you process payroll and can only make one claim for any period, so must include all full and flexible furloughed employees in one claim even if you pay them at different times. You cannot claim for periods in July before 1 July so separate claims for June and July must be made even if employees are furloughed continuously and are different from the pay period used.
  • When claiming for flexible furlough employees, you should not claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours they will have worked during the claim period.
  • There are two different calculations to work out the flexible furlough payment to be made if your employee has a variable hours or zero hours contract or variable pay. This is based on an assessment of their ‘usual hours’ worked - either the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019/20 or the corresponding calendar period in the previous year, whichever is highest. When calculating usual hours you should include annual leave and overtime (if the pay for this was not discretionary)
    • If using average number of hours worked per tax year method: start with number of hours worked, divided by the number of calendar days employed up until the start of furlough and multiply by the number of calendar days in the pay period
    • If using the corresponding calendar period: identify the relevant pay period that corresponds to at least one calendar day in the pay period you are claiming for, take the number of hours worked in that pay period or pay periods and divide by the total calendar days in the pay period 

The current furlough scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, to make way for the new flexible furlough programme. Employers wanting to place new employees on the scheme to benefit from part time or flexible furlough will need to do so by 10 June, to allow time to complete the minimum furlough period (3 weeks) prior to 30 June. Employees do not need to be on furlough at the point they move to flexible furlough and may have returned to work already part time.

If you think you've overclaimed, please refer to this link. You can correct it in the next claim, and you'll need the digital reference number  

Notes on Process

  • Tronc: “any tips, including those distributed through troncs” do not count in calculation of furlough pay. Only non-discretionary, contracted or obligated regular payments over and above salary may be included.
  • Don't forget to note or print-out of your claim reference number as there will not be a confirmation SMS or email provided. 
  • Record decisions about who was offered furlough and write formally to those confirming agreed upon furlough proposals including any changes to their employment contract. These records must be maintained for 5 years. There is no requirement to have written agreement back from employees confirming agreement to furlough
  • HMRC will retrospectively audit your claim so contemporaneous records must be maintained. Employees must be paid the full amount of the grant received for their gross pay.  No deductions may be taken aside from income tax and student loan deductions.

2. £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants up to £5,000. Businesses can use the funds to adopt new technology, purchase new equipment or for specialist professional advise such as legal or financial expertise. 100% of the money will come from government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.

3. The government is providing £25k cash grants available per business under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. The grant can be used to pay for quarterly rent payments due. To qualify the property must have rateable value between £15,000 - £51,0000 to be eligible for a grant of up to £25,000. Local authorities will be contacting eligible businesses directly.

In Scotland, the Scottish Economic Secretary announced multi site businesses can access the grant if their premises have a cumulative value over £51,000 to businesses which share premises space and where the landlord is the ratepayer. Further details about this update are to be provided. 

4. Businesses in England which are not eligible for other Government grant schemes including the (Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund) you may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.may apply through their local council for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. Grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000 may be given. Councils are free to set their own discretionary rules but have been asked to prioritise those which have not received business rate relief.

5. Business rates have been abolished for one year for all hospitality businesses. Local authorities will apply the business rates holiday to your bills, no action is required by you. 

In addition, "a revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus." 

6. Bounce Back Loan Scheme: Small firms are to get access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans. To qualify, the businesses has a turnover of up to £200,000 and will receive £2000-£50,000 within days of applying. The scheme began 4 May and requires filling in a two-page self-certification form online. The loan terms mean no capital or interest repayments will be due for one year. The government will pay the interest for the first 12 months as well as any fees. Furthermore, the government will work with lenders to agree to a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

7. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme of up to £5m to support any viable business with turnover of up to £45m. Interest payments and any lender-levied fees for businesses will be covered by the Government for an initial period of up to twelve months. This scheme is open and accepting applications.

  • Government is taking additional steps to ensure that lenders have the confidence required to process applications quickly, including removing the per lender portfolio cap for the government guarantee, and changing the viability tests requirements to if the business was viable pre COVID-19.
  • Lenders are not permitted to request personal guarantees on loans under £250,000. 
  • For loans over £250,000, personal guarantees will be limited to just 20% of any amount outstanding on the CBILS lending after any other recoveries from business assets. Lenders are prohibited from asking business owners to put their house on the line.
  • Extending the CBILS to all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, not just those to secure regular commercial financing
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80%. The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million to help ensure large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak. 
  • The Government has extended to maximum loan size for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme to £200 million from 26 May. Firms borrowing more than £50 million will be subject to restrictions such as on senior pay, share buy-backs and dividend payments. Borrowers under CLBILS will be able to borrow up to 25% of turnover, up to a maximum of £200 million 

8. £10k small business grant funding to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or rural rates relief.

9. Insurance: Per the Chancellor’s press conference on 17 March 2020, all businesses “which do have a policy that covers pandemics, the government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy.” 

The Financial Conduct Authority have announced that it intends to seek clarification from the High Court to resolve contractual uncertainty in business interruption (BI) insurance cover. An update was released 1 June which identified a sample of policy wordings to be examined in the test case and the insurers who have agreed to be involved in the action. 

The FCA is inviting inviting policyholders, their insurance intermediaries, insurers, other stakeholders and their legal advisers to provide their comments until 3pm on Friday 5 June. Please email: biinsurancetestcase@fca.org.uk stating the name of the relevant insurer in the subject line of the email. For more information please refer to this LINK.

Hospitality Insurance Group Action are offering to help review your business interruption insurance policy at no cost. 

10. 14 days statutory sick pay (SSP) refunded to businesses with less than 250 employees. Forms are now open for employers to check whether they are eligible and file a claim online.

11. The VAT payments deferral scheme ended on 30 June 2020. 

Rent 

Government will temporarily ban the use of statutory demands made between 1 March till 30 June and winding up petitions presented from Monday 27 April, through to 30 June, where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus. This will provide protection and void any demands served from 1 March - 30 June with possibility for extension.  This measure will be included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill.

Government is also laying secondary legislation to provide tenants with more breathing space to pay rent by preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.

Across the country there are examples of landlords pledging to help businesses create workable solutions to meet their rent liabilities and "sustain businesses in temporary distress and the communities where they are invested." Some examples below: GOV.UK: Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments

The London Property Alliance which represents 400 Central London Real Estate Companies, has recommended to all members "to help their tenants through short-term issues" to businesses be in a position to resume trade once the crisis is over. Landlords were asked to be flexible to requests for support and recommended to switch to monthly payments to resolve cashflow issues where possible. London Property Alliance Statement 

The British Property Federation has urged any hospitality businesses in financial distress ahead of their first rent quarter day on 25 March 2020, to speak to their landlord as soon as possible. The commercial property sector is committed to supporting businesses who through no fault of their own are concerned about their rent liabilities. Support ranges from moving from quarterly to monthly rent payments, rent deferrals or payment holidays. British Property Federation Statement 

In addition, some landlords are cancelling Q1 rent.       

Bringing in Revenue

Pandemic Pivot Business Calculator

A 30-minute free tool to re-imagine your business over the coming months. The tool calculates your current business model’s viability considering social distancing and how new product offerings might affect your business economics. Together, you can evaluate sustainability and profitability between the two.

Transition to Delivery and/or Take-away

Restaurants: Food delivery and takeaway (including hot food) can remain operational.

The government has relaxed planning permissions to allow restaurants to operate as hot food take-aways for 12 months. (Press Release 17 March 2020). Businesses must tell their local authority when the new use begins and ends. The government has updated its guidance on takeaway procedures to now allow orders to be taken on-site. However, businesses should still encourage customers to order online, by app or phone.  Should this not be possible, with social distancing controls in place, orders can be taken at the premises. The updated guidance imposes controls and restrictions such as staggered pick up and queue management. 

Whether you’re considering adding delivery or take-away, re-tool your menu to produce foods which will still be delicious and safe both after reheating or withstanding long periods of storage, including freezing. From house-made charcuterie to pasta sets and ready meals, sell things which can be easily reheated so your guests can recreate their favourite dishes at home. Create meal plans and educate guests on how to prepare them with written instructions, which you can promote on social media channels. 

Groceries & Wine

From some of the UK's best seafood at The Sea, The Sea to excellent baked goods at Darby's, restaurants are turning to grocery as an additional revenue stream. Ombra in addition to pasta kits, also offers Cacklebean eggs, multiple types of flour and pre-bottled Negronis. For meal kits, create written tips or online videos for your guests as how to finish their meals at home. A great example is Jose Pizarro's "How to Finish at Home" series. For wine, places such as Naughty Piglets in Brixton are offering excellent bottles for takeaway, deals on multiple bottles plus bagnums of rosé and whites from the excellent Le Grappin.

To avoid wastage, reach out to local authorities (food banks, hospitals, religious institutions, shelters etc) to check if you can supply them with excess foods. 

See below for more inspiration of what restaurants are offering:

Gift Vouchers & Merchandise 

Remind your guests, another way they can support you is they can gift meals to those who are self-isolating. Also of course, encourage your guests to buy gift vouchers for themselves or to gift them to their friends and family for a future date. 

Merchandise is another option for an additional revenue stream and maintaining brand awareness. For example, Ikoyi's e-shop is offering t-shirts and a covetable tote-bag. Of course don't forget to have guests share on their purchases social channels. For some more examples, please refer to this link

As is helpful, we will continue to pass along information and support you during this period of unprecedented hardship. Please stay safe, and keep washing those hands!

For more information please refer to the following links:

Mutual-Aid Facebook Groups for London Boroughs

Barnet
Battersea
Brent 
Camden 
Ealing 
Greenwich 
Hackney 
Haringey 
Islington 
Lambeth 
Lewisham 
Newham 
Southwark 
Tower Hamlets 
Waltham Forest


Mutual-Aid Facebook Groups for Outside London

Brighton
Bristol
Manchester

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