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Advice for re-opening: Hospitality sector

Following the Government's announcement that some businesses in the Hospitality and Leisure sectors will be allowed to reopen, providing they follow safety guidelines, from 12 April 2021 the Government have released guidance documents to help those businesses to reopen safely:

Organisations in certain sectors should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors on their premises to support NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors, in a way that is manageable for your organisation, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

Guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace [external link]

The roadmap provides businesses and the public with plenty of notice to prepare for the gradual removal of restrictions and we should all make best use of the notice period.

The current guidance suggests you should consider the following checks and considerations before reopening. You can also find further advice and guidance in video format on our YouTube channel

  • Review your COVID safe measures and risk assessment, including refresher training for staff, signage, and queue management.
    If you intend to open for outdoor service on or after the 12 April, you must assess how many customers you can safely accommodate, seated, allowing for adequate social distancing, queue management, ordering and payment.
    Social distancing separation between customers if under 2m will require additional steps of mitigation. Please remember that when measuring distances this is between customers and not measured table edge to table edge.
    Where possible, let customers know about your rules and seating capacity before you open, using Social Media is a good way to get the message out and manage customer expectations.
    Make sure you have systems in place to take orders and payments at the table.
    Consider setting up COVID testing for your staff or alternatively you can book your staff in for regular tests at one of our community testing sites on the following link: https://www.darlington.gov.uk/testing
    Recording customer details for Test and Trace manually or using the NHS QR poster, if the display of the NHS poster remains mandatory, this will need to be positioned somewhere easily accessible for customers and where it does not cause a pinch point for queuing. You are advised to display a number of the posters around your venue.

To make use of an outside space a pavement licence allows the licence holder to place removable furniture over some adopted highways for specific purposes. Pavement cafe licence guidance, policy and application forms are available at the following: www.darlington.gov.uk/business-and-licensing/licensing/licensing-a-z/pavement-cafes/

The local authority will need to consider how premises can implement social distancing measures within the pavement licensed area, and for people passing the licensed area with the recommended minimum footway widths and distances required for access by mobility impaired and visually impaired people as set out in Section 3.1: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-mobility [external link]. 

Planning permission is not required for removable furniture on adopted highway and there is a 14-day period for this process to be completed. Please submit application forms as soon as possible or inform Licensing of your intention to apply at the earliest opportunity.

If your plan involves semi-permanent structures such as decking or the repurpose of car park spaces, planning permission may be required. Discussion with County Durham and Darlington Fire Service  regarding emergency access may also be required and this process may take longer than 14 days.

In these cases contact licensing via email to outline your plans for pre-licensing advice: [email protected]

It is important to note the grant of a pavement licence only permits the placing of furniture on the highway. Alcohol licences and the need to comply with food registration requirements are separate issues.

Please be aware that effective management of licensed premises also need to ensure queues are socially distanced. This may require more SIA staff, based on risk than you may ordinarily use to ensure compliance.

A copy of your premise licence must be on site at all times, if you require a copy please call or email using the contact above.

We wish you success with your reopening plans.