‘Freedom day’ relief for foodservice venues

Thousands of hospitality businesses are set to open their doors on Monday after the government announced the lifting of all coronavirus restrictions in England.

Venues such as nightclubs will be able to reopen, while all capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events will be lifted.

Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars will no longer be required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.

The British Beer & Pub Association said the lifting of restrictions on so-called ‘freedom day’ would enable 2,000 more pubs to reopen that have remained shut because they cannot viably operate under restrictions.  

Businesses operating in higher risk settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household are still being encouraged to use the NHS covid pass as a condition of entry. The government has also reserved the right to mandate certification in certain venues at a later date if necessary.

Businesses are also being encouraged to continue displaying QR codes for customers wishing to check in using the NHS covid-19 app, or to continue collecting customer contact details to support NHS test and trace, however this will no longer be a legal requirement.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said the lifting of measures would be a “huge relief” for hospitality venues trading in England. “For profitability to be reached as soon as possible, it’s vital that businesses are able to reach their own solutions, to suit their settings, satisfy their risk assessments and optimise implementation costs while ensuring safety,” Nicholls added.

The devolved administrations are also relaxing rules albeit in a more cautious way than England. Scotland is planning to end most legal restrictions by August 9th, while Northern Ireland is hoping to complete its roadmap out of restrictions by the end of the summer. Wales is set to move to alert level zero on August 7th which will see all premises allowed to open and most, but not all, restrictions removed.

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