25th June 2020
Dear Division 2 Member
GUIDANCE FOR PUBS
Further to my Update yesterday I have had a number of members contact me as many customers are requesting machine removals in order to comply with their interpretation of Government Guidance for the re-opening of pubs on 4th July.
Clearly it is both undesirable and costly for operators to remove machines. In many cases members will not have the capacity to store them. It is also in our view unnecessary for machines to be removed to ensure compliance with the pub guidance, although this may be necessary in some cases. Public safety must come first.
We have agreed and previously circulated to you a set of principles for re-opening agreed with the pub trade bodies, the British Beer and Pub Association and UK Hospitality. We held a further meeting with them on Wednesday to discuss machine removals.
PubCos are as keen as suppliers to keep machines on site if at all possible. They are a valuable source of income.
We discussed a number of measures and suggestions that will help pubs comply with Government Guidance without the need to remove machines. You may find this useful in you conversations with PubCos and individual landlords. They should try to incorporate these into their risk assessments for any particular venue.
The Guidance for pubs itself makes no mention of machines but does require customers to remain seated where possible. Our collective view is that with proper risk assessments in place, written and owned by the pub, there is no reason why customers should not be permitted to play machines or to play pool. Below are some suggested approaches pubs could take to address risks.
- Fruit machines can be located away from pinch points in the venue.
- A stool can be used to provide seating in front of them.
- Players will in any case be facing away from other customers and will be stationary.
- Robust cleaning protocols will ensure the machine is wiped down before use by other players, significantly reducing surface transmission risk.
- Pool tables will have their own hygiene regime (See bacta/UKH/BBPA principles document circulated earlier this week) covering cue, ball, chalk and surface cleaning.
- Customers can be advised to remain seated until it is their turn to play.
- Pool tables can be moved if not in use to provide socially distancing barriers, potentially covered and repurposed as a table that keeps people socially distance.
- Juke boxes should not be problematic but it should be noted that volumes will need to be reduced to a level where people in venue are not having to raise their voice or shout as this presents a raised transmission risk by an infected person.
We will be in close contact with the pub associations to refresh advice based upon experience.