Covid-19 Mitigation FAQ

Here, we have laid out our response to the COVID-19 recovery strategy for the hospitality industry. In short this is how we will be running The Maltsters Arms to remain inside the government recommendations whilst protecting our staff and customers.

1. Is a risk assessment required?

Yes, all pubs must undertake a risk assessment in order to ensure that they are COVID-19 Secure and can re-open.

The Government’s COVID-19 Secure workplace guidelines set out the requirements against which we must assess our premises in order to make our business COVID-19 safe. As an employer, we have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means we have thought about the risks they face and are doing everything that is reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising we cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

We have undertaken a risk assessment for the Maltsters Arms, assessed against the relevant UK Government COVID-19 Secure workplace guidance for pubs. For England, that guidance is here. Ensure that you have read and understood this guidance. For our guest rooms, the workplace guidance for Hotels and Guest Accommodation and Visitor Economy has been taken into consideration.

2. What is the social distancing requirement for a pub?

From 4th July it will be “2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable”.

3. What happens if we hadn’t undertaken a risk assessment, or failed to implement mitigations?

Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or our local authority, identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing, where possible. Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law.

4. Can the police The Maltsters Arms if they believe we are not following the guidance?

Enforcement of staff and customer safety in pubs from a COVID-19 perspective is the role of EHOs who will provide advice on mitigation measures taken following a risk assessment.   There is no role of the police in enforcing risk mitigation measures except in the instances of gatherings of more than 30 people in a public area, which is currently illegal.

Clearly if there is a public order in and around licensed premises this is for the police to enforce.

Neither the police nor EHOs have powers to issue blanket bans on pubs broadcasting of sport, which remains legal. However, the Government guidance recommends that broadcasting of live sport does not take place where this encourages shouting and chanting. Therefore, premises should fully consider this as part of their risk assessment process.

5. Can we screen football matches, movies or other sporting events? Yes, we have considered and taken account of the steps below and have satisfied ourselves that it is safe to screen all of the above, you can do so.

The workplace guidance sets out a number of considerations for entertainment within pubs. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery#takeaways-4-5

We will ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.

6. Do our customers need to pre-book?

No, there is not a requirement to pre-book. This is suggested as one way to manage the flow of customers and help with track and trace. That said, it is better to book, to secure a dining table. If you are coming in from outside of the area its best to book a table for drinks to avoid disappointment.

7. Do we have to take customers’ contact details when they come to The maltsters? How will we do this?

No, there is no obligation to collect details on entry. We could have can chosen a number of ways to collect customer information to support the Government’s track and trace programme. WE have decided on a zero contact method, which will involve you logging into our guest wifi (once) and agreeing for us to be able to store your email or social media contact details.

The opening up of pubs is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. Government guidance is that we should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of our customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for our business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. 

There is no defined process for this as yet. Government intends to consult shortly with industry on how best this could be implemented.

8. Do we have to refuse entry to a customer that will not provide their contact details?

No, provided that we have taken reasonable steps to obtain these contact details. would be through our secure wifi marketing app (or not at all if you have booked your table online).

9. Is there anything that we strictly must not do under the guidance?

The guidance allows each pub to individually assess its risk and take steps to address those risk.  It provides a detailed list of possible actions that each pub should consider when it assesses its risks. It is likely that each pub will adopt a different set of actions, according to their circumstances.

However there are some elements that pubs must ensure such as:

  • At this time, venues should not permit live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience.

10. What groups are allowed to meet in the Maltsters Arms?

The guidance for groups in pubs reflects the current Government guidance for groups meeting generally. Currently this states:

Going to a pub or restaurant with members of another household

From 4 July, when eating or drinking out with people you do not live with, you should only meet one other household if you are seated indoors. People from more than two households at once cannot meet indoors. If you are eating or drinking outdoors, you can do so with one other household or in a group of up to 6 people from different households.

In all cases, people from different households should ensure they socially distance as much as possible. We will also take reasonable steps to help you do so in line with COVID-19 secure principles. It remains the case that you should only have close social contact with people you do not live with if you are in a support bubble with them.

This means that:

Two Households at The maltsters Arms = allowed indoors or outdoors. Each household should remain socially-distanced from the other, but people within the same household do not. Anyone that has formed a “social bubble” with a household also does not need to remain socially-distant from that household, but they should remain so from the other household.

Up to 6 people from different households at The maltsters Arms= only allowed outdoors. People should remain socially distant from each other.

11. For customers indoors, can The Maltsters only offer table service or are customers allowed to be served at the bar?

The guidance does not exclude bar service. The workplace guidance for England advises that the following step should be considered:

“Indoor table service must be used where possible, alongside further measures such as assigning a single staff member per table. Outdoor table service should also be encouraged, although customers are permitted to stand outside if distanced appropriately. Where bar or counter service is unavoidable, preventing customers from remaining at the bar or counter after ordering.”

The intention of the guidance is that table service is considered as one of the ways in which a pub can seek to ensure social-distancing and as a means of controlling its capacity but bar service is not prohibited.

12. What are the publican’s responsibilities with regards to keeping customers socially-distant at all times?

After undertaking a risk assessment that considers and records how The maltsters Arms will ensure social-distancing and the mitigations that will be applied has been key in demonstrating how we will have met our responsibilities.

15. What responsibility do we have for checking that any groups that meet at the pub are complying with the guidance on households etc?

The guidance for gatherings of groups places the onus on the individuals within those groups to follow the guidance for social-distancing, whether that is a household group or a group of up to six from different households. We will take reasonable steps to help those groups maintain social-distancing, but there is no requirement for the staff to ensure those customers are complying. However, customers will be asked to leave the premises if they refuse to comply to the directions of our staff.

V1. 26th June 2020 – next review 3rd July 2020

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Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames RG9 4QD, England