Hospitality industry report sets out roadmap to getting pubs open

Ban on drinkers at the bar, end of the hotel buffet and no salt and pepper shakers: 75-page hospitality industry report sets out roadmap to getting restaurants and pubs open on July 4

  • The document was submitted to the government by trade group UKHospitality
  • It offers a glimpse into the future of restaurants and pubs with social distancing
  • Government has said it wants to start opening hospitality businesses on July 4

The hospitality industry has submitted a 75 page report setting out a roadmap to getting restaurants and pubs open on July 4, that includes ditching the hotel buffet and no more drinkers at the bar.

The dossier has been submitted to ministers by UKHospitality, the trade body for the industry, as reported by The Daily Telegraph

Boris Johnson revealed his lockdown blue-print last Sunday after Brits spent weeks under draconian lockdown measures on imposed by the PM on March 23. 

The Prime Minister has urged people to return to work and hoped that from June 1 schools and shops would reopen.

He also said it’s his ‘ambition’ to start opening some hospitality businesses on July 4, as the PM tries to get the economy kickstarted.

The newly-released draft plans give a glimpse of how restaurants, bars and other leisure facilities will operate as the country eases out of lockdown, and offers suggestions for how they can operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The industry has been devastated by the health crisis, with sales plummeting and many businesses still unsure if reopening with social distancing rules will be financially viable. 

This picture shows a Wetherpoon pub in south London when it was still open. The graphics show what could happen if pubs reopen in July

This picture shows a Wetherpoon pub in south London when it was still open. The graphics show what could happen if pubs reopen in July

Pubs and Restaurants 

In pubs and restaurants salt and pepper shakers will be removed from tables and instead brought to customers along with cutlery, instead of it being on the table when you sit down. 

Drinkers will also be discouraged from queuing up at the bar, and table service will be encouraged.

To prevent people not respecting social distancing guidelines there will be tape on the floor showing the appropriate distance needed.

Other options that pubs could consider is getting customers to order from one till and then collecting drinks at a separate pick up point.  

When leaving the pub or getting another drink many people will take their empty glasses back to the bar so staff don’t have to come and collect them.

But the document says that glasses should now be collected by staff.

Pubs will also have to put in place a plan for toilets to ensure they don’t become overcrowded. 

Drinkers are pictured at JJ Moon's in Tooting, south London, on March 20, the final day Wetherspoon was open nationwide

Drinkers are pictured at JJ Moon’s in Tooting, south London, on March 20, the final day Wetherspoon was open nationwide 

If pub gardens are open to take advantage of the summer weather, then patrols may have to take place to ensure big groups don’t congregate and social distancing is being kept.  

Rather than being able to grab hold of a bottle of ketchup or mustard, individually wrapped condiments will be encouraged instead. 

Any use of a menu should be limited and cleaned after use by a member of staff. 

Chairman of Wetherspoon Tim Martin previously said he was hoping to start re-opening its pubs and hotels ‘in or around June’.

He was forced to close all 900 pubs and furlough 40,000 workers before Britain went on lockdown.  

The 64-year-old said: ‘If someone offered me the opportunity now to have it under supervised conditions, I think I’d probably take it because your chances are very, very good.’

He told Sky at the time: ‘Supermarkets are very, very crowded. Pubs are much less crowded.

‘There’s hardly been any transmission of the virus within pubs and I think it’s over the top to shut them. That’s a commercial view but also a common sense view.’

He claimed that a nationwide shutdown was ‘draconian’ and that it didn’t offer ‘health benefits’.

Mr Martin had hoped he could get away with introducing social distancing in his pubs, with a ‘regulars only’ policy in some.

An empty beer garden at the Greene King Stag and Hounds pub in Farnham Common during the coronavirus lockdown

An empty beer garden at the Greene King Stag and Hounds pub in Farnham Common during the coronavirus lockdown

He said that people would be able to keep their distance more easily as footfall dropped with some unable to leave the house due to underlying health conditions.

Rival pub chain Greene King has previously said it wants to open beer gardens and customers will be able to order from an app.

Chief executive Nick McKenzie said customers would not be allowed in the pub in order to keep to social distancing guidelines. 

The British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin previously said: ‘Re-opening in July will be great for those pubs who can meet the social-distancing measures required by then.

‘We stand ready to work with the Government to help pubs re-open in a safe and financially viable way as soon as possible.’ 

Environment Secretary George Eustice has said he hopes that pubs can return imminently, if they are able to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Mr Eustice told the Commons: ‘Of course we also recognise that until things return to something closer to normal and they can open normally, hopefully later this summer, then it will not give them all of the trade they previously had.’ 

Hotels

A warm handshake from a hotel owner or bed and breakfast host could well become a thing of the past.

Instead staff will be encouraged to greet guests in a way that abides by social distancing guidelines. 

At hotels, hotels buffets will be strongly discouraged, meaning breakfast self-service available in thousands of hotels across the country will be ditched.

Guests who want to use the gym or any spa facilities will be encouraged to use their rooms to prevent overcrowding in changing rooms.

Similar rules for eating and drinking apply would apply at hotels, as would apply at restaurants and bars.

In terms of room-service staff will be encouraged to knock on the door and leave the tray outside, rather than engage with the customer. 

Rooms keys will also have to be regularly disinfected and staff will have to keep a social distance if they help guests with luggage. 

There will be no queueing and table service or apps will be prioritised to ensure social distancing.

Any outdoor areas would have to be regularly patrolled and queues at the front desks would have to be managed. 

The hotel industry has been severely hit like many operators, with a number of them now housing homeless people during the pandemic.

Keith Barr, chief executive of IHG, which owns the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands said hotels must make ‘visible’ changes to hygiene standards to encourage customers to come back.

He also said the company was trialling electostatic sprayers and removing standard guest room items, such as a pen and paper.

Coronavirus patients with mild symptoms are quarantined at hotels in Tokyo staffed by robots. Five hotels are around the city are using robots to help limit the spread, one being the world's first social humanoid Pepper (left)

Coronavirus patients with mild symptoms are quarantined at hotels in Tokyo staffed by robots. Five hotels are around the city are using robots to help limit the spread, one being the world’s first social humanoid Pepper (left)

Mr Barr told the Financial Times:  ‘Covid-19 represents the most significant challenge both IHG and our industry have ever faced,’ he said after the company’s first-quarter update on Thursday.

This week other industry bosses also spoke about the importance of hygiene standards to lure customers back to an industry that has been a huge fall in sales. 

At an industry event early this week the chief executive of Radisson Hotel Group Federico J González, said the industry should have a united approach to cleaning and hygiene.

Speaking on a panel session as part of an In Sync virtual event, he said: ‘Giving the consumer a common reference is one of the things that if the industry fails at doing it, we will pay for it. 

‘Stars mean nothing to today’s consumers because every different region has classified this in a different way… [they need] a reference they truly understand.’

And David Kong of BWH Hotel Group said cleanliness will become ‘the most important element of why someone would pick a hotel’, as reported by The Caterer.

Amusement Parks    

At theme parks, capacity on roller coasters and other rides could be reduced by leaving middle seats empty if visitors are riding from different groups.

Amusement parks and other family entertainment sites may be forced to cancel character shows, concerts and end of day parades to ensure compliance with potential social distancing rules. 

Queues for specific rides will have to abide by social distancing measures which means there could be less capacity on certain rides.

Getting food and drink at the various eateries at an attraction will also have to abide by social distancing guidelines. 

In an update to guests this week Alton Towers said it was taking advice from theme parks around the world about when to open safely. 

In an announcement on Monday the resort said: ‘Since the Resort closed, we’ve been working tirelessly to make sure that when it is safe to reopen we are absolutely ready to welcome you back.

‘We’ve been taking advice from colleagues across the globe on how best to reopen in line with new safety guidelines.

‘From enhanced cleaning regimes to social distancing measures, we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure that you have a brilliant, safe, visit.

Shanghai Disneyland sets up social distancing queues ready for the reopening of the attraction

Shanghai Disneyland sets up social distancing queues ready for the reopening of the attraction

‘We’ll be sharing our plans for reopening soon. For now we’re asking guests with short breaks booked June 1 and July 3 to visit altontowers.com to find out how to move your booking. 

‘In our 40th Birthday season, we’re determined to be here for you and your families, offering fun, thrills and fantastic memories, as we have done for decades and will continue to do for many more.

‘Please keep smiling, clapping and supporting each other. See you soon.’ 

Kate Nicholls, the body’s chief executive, told the newspaper: ‘We will be ready to restart in England on July 4, and other parts of the country when allowed, but it’s vital that reopening is done in the right way, at the right time and with the right support – so that our industry can help bring employees, customers and communities back together safely over the coming months.

‘The summer is a crucial time for the sector. The great British public deserve safe accommodation, eating and drinking out experiences, holidays and leisure time; the financial cost is a justified investment in our nation’s well-being and the future of the economy.’

Advertisement