Freedom Day is fast approaching and the British are eagerly awaiting the easing of lockdown restrictions from Monday (July 19).
In his announcement earlier this week, Boris Johnson announced that most restrictions would be removed, including the legal requirement to wear face masks and social distancing.
In pubs and restaurants, the rule of six will be abandoned, as will table service.
However, that doesn’t mean life will return to normal as Johnson has called on the public and businesses to take a cautious approach to easing the lockdown.
Many officials criticized the government’s often confused and contradictory messages.
Dr Roger Barker, director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said bosses were “understandably confused” as he criticized “a series of mixed messages and patchwork demands”.
“Go back to work or continue to stay at home. Throw away your masks or continue to wear them. The long-awaited directives from the government today have done little to clear up this confusion, ”he said.
Earlier this week, the government issued post-July 19 guidelines for people who work or manage restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, nightclubs or take-out.
It details the recommended covid regulations that businesses should keep in place after Freedom Day.
The guidelines are described as voluntary, but they also state that sites should always perform a detailed Covid risk assessment to ensure they are not breaking health and safety laws.
Here are some of the Covid measures that pubs and restaurants may decide to maintain, under the new guidelines:
In England, face masks are no longer a legal requirement.
However, the government says it “expects and recommends” people to continue wearing them in crowded areas, such as in pubs and restaurants.
Workers can choose whether or not to wear a face cover.
Boris Johnson recommended that some venues and events should use vaccine passports for entry “for a matter of social responsibility.”
The Covid Pass, on the NHS app, shows proof of a double vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity having recovered from the coronavirus.
According to the guidelines, the Covid Pass, on the NHS app, shows evidence of a double vaccination, recent negative test, or recovered natural immunity from the coronavirus.
He adds: ‘The government will work with organizations that operate large, overcrowded environments (eg nightclubs) where people are likely to be in close proximity to large numbers of people from other households to use the NHS. COVID Pass as a condition of entry.
“To support businesses, organizations and individuals in these contexts, the NHS COVID Pass will be available through the NHS app, the NHS website or as a letter that can be requested by calling NHS 119.”
NHS Test and Trace connection
Hospitality venues are ‘encouraged’ to display an official NHS QR code poster – ‘although it is not legally required to do so’.
The guide adds that “this will allow the NHS Test and Trace to contact those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so they can book a test. ”
The government encourages good ventilation in enclosed spaces. So expect doors and windows to be open in some places.
The guide reads: “Good ventilation brings fresh or purified air to indoor spaces.
“The more fresh air is brought indoors, the more diluted any virus in the air will be. In poorly ventilated spaces, the residual virus can remain in the air after an infected person leaves and increase the risk of the spread of COVID-19. ”
Pubs were also asked to identify poorly ventilated areas using a CO2 monitor.
Venues can also get creative with their outdoor space, as they have been told to “encourage the use of outdoor space where possible, especially for high risk activities such as exercise or when people sing or raise their voices ”.
Screens and barriers are here to stay
The guide recommends that companies “install screens to minimize contact between locker room workers and customers, where this would not impact ventilation.”
And “install screens at points of service, for example at checkouts and counters, to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 between reception workers and customers.”
Buffets not recommended
Want to eat at the bar and buffets during family celebrations? They may not be allowed in some locations.
Sites were asked to “discourage customer self-service”.
Cleaning signs can still be displayed
Sites are always asked to “advise clients and workers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently”.
Tables and touched surfaces will also be “cleaned regularly” and the guidelines say this is “particularly important before and after touching shared objects or surfaces that other people touch regularly”
Order at the bar
You can come to the bar to order your drink from Monday, but be careful not to lean on it.
Companies are invited to “reduce the number of surfaces touched by staff and customers.
“For example, ask customers not to lean on counters when placing orders.”
Staff rotations and “fixed team” work
Social distancing measures will be removed, but guidelines still recommend reducing contact between staff.
This may include the use of “fixed teams” or “partnerships”.
Whenever possible, staff are encouraged to work the same hours as some colleagues.
Paper condiments are here to stay
If you run out of bottled ketchup, you might be out of luck.
The guide recommends “cleaning non-disposable condiment containers after each use” – but failing to “provide only disposable condiments”.