23rd September 2020
COVID-19 UPDATE – ENGLAND
The Government last night published more information on what businesses can and can’t do following yesterday’s announcement by the PM. We are still awaiting the Regulations which will be the basis for any enforcement action. Here are the key points. My comments are in italics:
- Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. This is already the case for arcades.
- Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September). This is a new requirement and will almost certainly apply to arcades.
- People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations.
New Restrictions on Businesses
- Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am (from 24 September).
- In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table. For Division 2 members this is an important part of the statement as it refers exclusively to food and drink. Enforcement officers suggesting this rule de facto means games can’t be played are wrong. There is no reference to machine play in the statement and therefore current arrangements can continue. We will need to study the Regulations very carefully to prevent unnecessary over-reactions by enforcement officers which occurred when rules on being seated in pubs were brought in.
- Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from 24 September). As previously advised you can register for and obtain a QR Code for your business from the Test and Trace website: https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster?gclid=CjwKCAjw5Kv7BRBSEiwAXGDElTGYEi2HD3HPlZ84pa-XhHGJGDzEzqOYM8tDAvS2BWl39zsrbhNZ0xoCiOcQAvD_BwE
- Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from 28 September):
- Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
- Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.
The full ‘what has changed’ page can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-what-has-changed-22-september
As soon as we get more detail from Scottish and Welsh Governments I will send out a further Update to members.