COVID plans in the UK and its effect on Hospitality

With the pandemic hangover looming over the country, people in the UK are ready to head back into shops and restaurants. Although we are still a long way away from the end of COVID-19, it can be argued we are heading towards somewhat of normality. Over the course of 2021, restaurants and pubs have let out a sigh of relief as customers can be back into the premises without any of the major social distancing restrictions. The Scottish government have outlined plans for its vaccine passport schemes which plan to take effect on the 1st October.

In Scotland, MPS voted to back the proposals which allowed nightclubs and large events to only allow entry to customers who have had both doses on the COVID vaccination. People over the age of 18 will be asked to show proof that they have had both doses before being allowed entry. For restaurant owners with smaller covers, the Scottish government advise that all customers should be checked and in much larger events, only a ‘reasonable number’ should be checked. The passports would follow similar suit to the digital COVID certificate being used across Europe as double dosed customers will be able to receive a digital or paper certificate with a QR code which will act as proof of their vaccinations. The ongoing discussions have still not answered all questions as there is still no detail regarding how businesses are expected to enforce the rules and what repercussions will follow if they do not comply. However, it is stated that restaurants will have a legal obligation to take all reasonable measures.

Wales are operating on a similar basis with the introduction of the NHS COVID Pass which will require customers to digitally register for an NHS login. Those aged over 16 will need to be fully vaccinated or have a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours. Like Scotland, the new rules are causing conflicted opinions. Gabrela Page, 20, reported to BBC News that the new COVID passes are “a waste of time” and that many others will agree. James Avison, 24, however, stated that “it’s a small thing in the grand schemes of things that could do us a favour”. Besides the clash in opinions, for restaurant goers and owners, it provides a great peace of mind, as owners will be looking to get their restaurant to full capacity, they must ensure they are doing so in a manner where not only the customers are safe, but also the staff. New regulations across the whole UK is looking to achieve this as they hope to move back into normality in a safe manner.

Northern Ireland lifted their restrictions on dining, dancing and live shows on 10 September as customers were fully allowed to queue for pubs and bars for the first time since the social distancing rules were introduced. Although night clubs remain closed, dancing at weddings and civil partnership receptions is allowed following the recent lift of restrictions. Although these new changes should benefit the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland, Colin Neill, Hospitality Ulster, stated that the reaming regulations on bars and restaurants were punitive and that some businesses in this sector were still “struggling to find their feet and recover”. There is no legal obligation to socially distance, in outdoor settings, however, indoors, a 1m distance is still required. In addition, unlike England, Northern Ireland are still adamant on their face coverings rule. The rules for masks has not changed as is still compulsory indoors.

In contrast to the rules in NI, England has lifted the face coverings rule as they are no longer required by law, however, some businesses and transport still require masks. Restaurant goers in England saw changes in rules earlier as within pubs cafes and restaurants, capacity limits were lifted, social distance guidance was removed, no rule of six or 2 households at one table and end of table service only. With all restrictions, slowly being lifted, in England it is still in the best interest of restaurant owners to operate in a safe manner.

Products we offer at eatPOS allows your business to operate back at full capacity while maintaining a COVID safe environment. Services such as, waiter tablets, order at table app, online reservations are all highly beneficial for restaurant owners in this new pandemic era. With the order at table function, the reduction in the use of a manual menu will create a safer environment. Although there are conflicted opinions from the public and hospitality owners, the rollout of these new rules will see much more full restaurants, pubs and large events. First Mister of Wales, Mark Drakeford stated that “If the virus continues to spread at its current rate, there will be about 3,200 cases confirmed every day towards the end of the month”. Therefore, it is imperative that the rollout of customers into restaurants is happening in a safe manner.

We are committed to helping customers through these unprecedented times and we are constantly innovating to provide you the best experience and most seamless integration within the hospitality industry. For more information, please visit here, fill out the contact form today and one of our helpful consultants will guide you on our all in one solution, and provide you with the insight to increase efficiency within your operation.