As Wales comes out of its two week “firebreak”, Matthew Phipps, Head of Licensing England and Wales, at TLT LLP, looks at the guidance issued that seeks to offer advice on how licensed premises and hospitality more generally, may successfully and compliantly welcome customers back into your premises.
This is a summary, based on the material published Friday (6 November 20200, that seeks to offer advice on how licensed premises and hospitality more generally, may successfully and compliantly welcome customers back into your premises.
Risk Assessment - The Risk assessment and measures in place before the firebreak all still apply, but a number of additional measures need to be in place. You should revise your Risk assessment to take account of this new material.
The summary is predominantly the text itself, but where Matthew has made a comment, this is in italics. This a summary and as such certain sections have been deleted to try to make it a manageable read. The links take you to the source material.
Key Points - The four key points seems to me to be as follows:
- Tables to be of 4 people maximum, unless from the same household, or with children aged 10 or younger.
- Customers need to be controlled at entry point and given a timeslot.
- ID requirements are significant.
- This “permission” will be very carefully reviewed, breaches may well help inform further lockdowns.
Children - One point that I think does merit particular note, is that the exemption for children appears to be those who are under 11. I.e. 10 and below. I had previously thought from the discussions with WG that it was 11 and below.
Compliance - Breach of Regulations is a criminal offence. Breach of Guidance is not, but do not underestimate its impact. Premises licences are able to be reviewed and Covidly insecure premises are getting a hard time in front of licensing committees. Revocation of licences is (increasingly) on the table. In addition Local Authorities and the Police have closure powers that range from obliging licensees to remedy some perceived defect, whether to the premises licence or the Covid Risk assessment or its delivery, whilst still permitting trading, through to issuing a closure order, that closes the premises until the issue is addressed (presuming that it can be).
Tone - As the FM made clear in the announcement last week, the tone here is important, and so his phrase, echoing JFK intentionally or otherwise, “Rather than us asking what we can or can’t do, we need to ask ourselves what should we be doing to keep our families safe” is likely to be the context in which officers will be enforcing these new rules. And I suspect the context in which adjudicators, whether licensing committees or the courts, will deliberate on perceived failings. Whilst falling back on the law to protect against some exceedance or failing, may work, it will not be viewed favourably. That doesn’t mean that you need to do less than you are permitted to do, but your risk assessment, your judgements and decisions as to how you operate, will need to be justified and justifiable.
Guidance - https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/WalesGuidance -
- In all premises indoors and outdoors, the maximum number of people that can meet, without a reasonable excuse, is set to four. Not including children aged under 11). The only exception is if more than four people live together in one household.
- Where up to 4 people from different households are sat together at a table, every effort should still be made by the business and the customer to ensure that they maximise distance at the table. (But that does not appear to mean 2 metres, which WG accept may well be impossible)
- In licensed premises only, there must be a person controlling entry in respect of the sale or supply of food or drink for consumption on the premises. “Walk-ups” should be kept to a minimum and subject to access through a controlled entry point with provision and verification of names of all members of the group at that point.
- In all premises (licensed and non-licensed) keeping records of staff, customers and visitors to support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service is mandatory, and the names of all customers or visitors, their telephone numbers, date of visit and arrival time must be collected and retained for 21 days. The NHS COVID-19 app. does not substitute this guidance and is not essential or mandated.
- In all premises customers are required to provide verification of their name when filling in contact details. Id permitted: drivers licence, bank or credit cards. Particular attention should be given to the details of a household group over 4 , adult customers will need to provide proof of name and address e.g. an electronic or paper based official document.
- Those controlling entry must allocate a limited time period during which customers may stay in the premises, for example a booking period/dwell time of up to 2 hours (120 minutes) for each group. (The 2 hours appears a proposed longstop, but it is not an absolute one. Longer should be justified)
- In licensed premises, customers must be seated. In unlicensed premises customers can order and pay at the counter subject to maintaining social distancing, but should consume food and drink at their table.
- All licensed premises must stop selling and serving alcohol at 10pm, and be closed (with no members of the public allowed to be on the premises) by 10.20pm.
- Whilst businesses are not legally responsible for enforcing travel requirements on their customers, they must not help customers break these restrictions.. The obligation is on the individual although a business that encourages a breach may also commit an offence.
- All businesses must set and display the maximum capacity for the premises and put in place measures for communicating and managing the maximum capacity set.
- Designate a named member or members of staff (depending on number of covers) during all opening hours to monitor Covid-19 hygiene and enforcement of social distancing/safety protocols – acting as ‘Covid Secure Monitors’. (This person can have other roles).
- The maximum number of people that can meet outdoors in hospitality premises is the same as indoors and is set to four.
- Premises are not permitted to hold live performances, including drama, comedy or music, to take place in front of a live audience. The restriction on live performances includes DJ acts. See guidance for performances. Music should be at background levels: In order to determine a reasonable background sound level, it is advised that a subjective test of holding conversations at social distance 2m is applied.
- Avoid shared activities in hospitality venues that would entail people breaching the rules on indoor gatherings e.g. skittles, darts, pool and other ‘pub games’. However each proposed activity can be considered on its own merits.
- Each business must have available on site a full risk assessment, prepared in line with the Welsh Government and UK Hospitality industry guidance which staff have been consulted on.
Although published by the trade association UK Hospitality, this is the Welsh Government approved Guidance. It applies whether you are a member of the association or not.
Regulations : https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-11/the-health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-no-4-wales-regulations-2020.pdf
These Regulations come into force on 9 November 2020 and must be reviewed by 19 November…and at least every 21 days after that.
Businesses or services whose premises must remain closed
- Concert halls.
- Sexual entertainment venues
- Venues with a licence where live or recorded music is provided for members of the public or members of the venue to dance.
Businesses or services whose premises are regulated premises (and therefore permitted to reopen) are:
- Any business selling goods or services for sale or hire in a shop.
- Shopping centres and shopping arcades.
- Bars (including bars in members’ clubs).
- Cafes, canteens and restaurants (including workplace canteens and dining rooms in members’ clubs).
- Public houses.
- Camping sites.
- Holiday sites.
- Hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation.
- Other holiday accommodation (including holiday apartments, hostels and boarding houses).
- Bingo halls.
- Bowling alleys, amusement arcades and indoor play areas.
- Funfairs, amusement parks and theme parks.
- Leisure centres and leisure facilities including indoor fitness studios, gyms and spas.
- Sports courts, skate parks, bowling greens, golf courses and enclosed sports grounds or pitches (whether outdoors or indoors).
- Venues for events or conferences (including venues for weddings).
- Visitor attractions and holiday, leisure activity or events businesse
Numbers - No person may, without a reasonable excuse, participate in a gathering which— consists of more than 4 people, not including— any children under the age of 11, or
Responsibilities - the responsible person 9at regulated premises) must—take all reasonable measures to ensure
(i) that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between members of the same household);
(b) take any other reasonable measures for that purpose, for example measures which limit close face–to-face interaction and maintain hygiene such as
- (d) collecting contact information from each person at the premises and retaining it for 21 days
- (e) taking reasonable measures to ensure that such contact information is correct.
The sale or supply of food or drink for consumption on licensed premises must also be carried out in accordance with the following additional measures
(a) there must be a person controlling entry to the premises and allocating a limited time period during which customers may stay in the premises;
(b) customers must be seated in the premises anywhere other than at a bar— (i) when ordering food or drink, (ii) when being served with food or drink, and (iii) when consuming food or drink.
Coronavirus (post firebreak) Frequently asked Questions - https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance