Returning to Pubs, Bars and Restaurants - Tips on How to Stay Safe
As restrictions begin to be lifted across the United Kingdom with pubs and restaurants reopening we can all sigh a collective breath of relief as we slowly return to relative normality.
There’s no doubt we’re all incredibly excited to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat with our friends and family, however, just because we’re able to enjoy the privilege once more that doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down completely.
What Are the Guidelines for Businesses Reopening?
Fortunately, it’s not a case of swinging open the doors and allowing things to return to how they were pre-lockdown right away. Pubs, bars and restaurants have been issued a number of strict guidelines they should follow in order to safely reopen to the public.
The guidelines are listed in a 43-page guidance document entitled ‘Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19’ that has been prepared by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with input from businesses, unions, industry bodies and Public Health England.
In pubs and bars all drinks will be delivered to tables that have been safely spaced out, surfaces including bar tops, door handles and fruit machines will be thoroughly cleaned every hour and staff will patrol beer gardens to ensure that social distancing is being observed.
As is the case with retail shops, there will be a limit on the number of people that are allowed inside the pub at any given time.
Within the restaurant industry reservations will be staggered to ensure that there are a limited number of people eating within the establishment at any given time. Napkins and cutlery will only be brought out with food and single-use paper menus will replace laminated ones as not to increase the risk of spreading the virus.
Condiments will no longer be left on the table to be used at the diners discretion, instead they’ll be served a single sachet by request. The biggest change of all for most restaurants will be the reduced menus. It has been suggested the food on offering be limited in order to reduce any potential cross-contamination in the kitchen.
What Can You Do to Stay Safe When Visiting Pubs, Bars and Restaurants?
Whilst it’s reassuring to know that businesses and staff are well prepared to re-open to the public as lockdown measures are lifted, there are a number of important precautions we can all take in order to reduce the risk of sparking a second wave of COVID-19.
Choose Your Seating Wisely
Ideally, you’re going to want to sit somewhere well ventilated, it’s highly recommended that you take advantage of outdoor seating assuming the weather permits. The potential transmission of the virus is significantly lower outdoors in comparison to sitting inside.
If there’s no option to sit outside then you’ll want to sit somewhere well ventilated, ideally near an open window. However bare in mind these seats will naturally be in high demand.
Avoid Drinking to Excess
The reality is that people are going to want to make the most of being able to drink socially when pubs and bars reopen once more, the opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones is going to cause us all to let loose a little.
However, drinking to excess would see us significantly less cautious than we would be if we were fully in control, not only this, but the number of toilet breaks required will increase, meaning you’re going to come into contact with surfaces such as door handles more often. Stay safe and stick to sensible limits.
Use Contactless Payments
The likelihood is that most bars and restaurants will avoid dealing with physical cash for the foreseeable future, assuming they’re able to do so. We’d recommend doing the same.
Only use a contactless card when paying for drinks and food, much like you likely have been doing when food shopping throughout the pandemic. If you don’t have access to a contactless card then it’s recommended you have the exact change so that money doesn’t need to be passed back and forth.
Continue to Adhere to Social Distancing
It’s expected that a number of tables are likely to be removed from your favourite pubs, bars and restaurants so that customers can safely enjoy them whilst adhering to social distancing rules. Despite the additional space, you’ll still need to remain mindful.
With the 2 metre social distancing rule relaxed a 1 metre + distance is still recommended, it’s also suggested that you sit side by side rather than face to face if you’re sat in a pub.
Bring Your Own Cutlery
It might look slightly weird at first, but if you really want to ensure your safety you should consider taking your own cutlery to use at cafes and restaurants. This way you’re avoiding using any cutlery that has been handled by another person.
If you do decide to bring your own, we’d highly recommend that you avoid using single-use plastic cutlery. Instead be kind to the environment and purchase reusable cutlery that will last a lifetime. Not only will you be keeping safe, but you’ll be doing your bit to save the world one meal at a time.
Avoid Drinking Directly From Your Glass If Possible
One of the biggest problems we’ll face when returning to the pub is drinking out of shared glasses. Of course they get washed thoroughly after every single use, but that they’re still being handled by bar staff whenever you order a new drink.
If you’re drinking something that isn’t a pint, why not use your own reusable straw? We suggest purchasing a glass straw due to their durability, cleanliness and safety.
VASO’s range of premium glass straws come highly recommended as they’re 100% reusable, sustainable and are completely free of toxins, mineral oils and industrial chemicals such as BPA. On top of that, not only are they safe, but they look sleek and stylish… Not something you can say about most eco-friendly straws that struggle when it comes to aesthetics.
These straws are dishwasher friendly and can be stored in a lightweight bamboo carrying case, so you have complete peace of mind that they’re safe to use despite the current circumstances.
Wear a Face Mask
Whilst we’re not suggesting you wear a face mask while dining out, it’s certainly worth considering wearing a cloth face mask when you decide to visit your local pub.
Infections are mostly spread by droplets which spread from a cough or sneeze, a face mask blocks the source of infection. It’s not there to protect you necessarily, but others around you.
Protecting others from the spread of the disease is just as important as protecting yourself, if just one person shows no fear when it comes to wearing a mask in the pub others may well be encouraged to act safely and don a mask themselves on their next visit.
Easing UK Lockdown Restrictions - What Do You Need to Know?
What Time Do Pubs Reopen on July 4th?
Most pubs will reopen as they did prior the lockdown coming into force, so expect doors to open between 11am and midday.
Do You Need to Pre-Book in Order to Go to the Pub, Bar or a Restaurant?
There is no rule in place that states customers must pre-book to visit their favourite pub, bar or restaurant, however some establishments may make it a requirement in order to help regulate the flow of customers and keep it at a safe and manageable level.
Do I Need to Give the Pub, Bar or Restaurant My Personal Details Upon Entering?
There is no obligation for you to give the pub, bar or restaurant your personal details upon entering, however it is recommended if they ask. These establishments are supported by the NHS Test and Trace system, so if someone visits with the virus you can be contacted ASAP.
Can Pubs Show Live Sport Once They Reopen?
Pubs are allowed to show live sports, however government guidance strongly recommends that pubs and bars do not broadcast live sports due to the fact that there will be shouting and chanting during games, increasing the risk of potentially spreading coronavirus.
Are Carvery and Buffet Services Still Available in Pubs and Restaurants?
Pubs will be able to operate carverys under the condition that they have carried out a full risk assessment and it is the staff that are serving the food and not the customers. Buffets are not permitted for the time being though.
Can I Go to a Pub, Bar or Restaurant With People From Outside My Household?
You are allowed to visit pubs, bars and restaurants with one other household other than your own if you are seated indoors. If you are seated outdoors then you may go with people from up to 6 different households.
Can You Play Pub Games Such as Pool and Darts or Use Fruit Machines?
As long as the pub has carried out a full risk assessment then customers are able to play pool, darts and use fruit machines whilst inside the establishment.
Can Coronavirus Spread Through Food?
To date there have been no reports of COVID-19 spreading through food or food packaging, the transmission route is through person-to-person contact.
How Long Does Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?
It’s not yet certain how long coronavirus can survive on surfaces, however it’s most likely to be similar to other viruses which can be between 2 hours and 9 days.