Following the Prime Minister’s speech last night, here is a summary of the changes businesses are being asked to make, and when each comes in.
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. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).
In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.
Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).
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).
Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from 28 September):
- A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.
- 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.
Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings (from 23 September).
Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September).
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.
Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law (from 24 September).
Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.
Working from home
To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so. Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
It is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:
HANDS – Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
FACE – Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.
NHS Test & Trace Update
From 18 Sep, the UK gov made it a legal requirement for venues in the sectors below to have a system in place to collect NHS Test and Trace data & keep this for 21 days.
The data logged should include at least one name, contact number, date of visit and arrival and, where possible, departure time.
From 24 September when the NHS Covid-19 app becomes available, it will also be a legal requirement for the same venues to display an NHS Test and Trace QR poster, which enables visitors with the app to check-in at that location.
The venues affected include those in the following sectors:
- leisure and tourism
- close contact services (such as salons)
- places of worship; and
- local authority venues (such as town halls and children’s centres)
The requirement to display the poster does not replace your current methods of collecting customer data, as visitors may not have or use the app.
Organisations in certain sectors should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors on their premises to support NHS Test and Trace.