Thorough Safety Measures Yet More Restrictions?

Published: Sep 29, 2020

It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has taken one of the hardest hits during the pandemic. Restaurants, bars and cafes are having to continually adapt to meet stricter hygiene standards to ensure the safety of both their customers and staff.

COVID-19 has created a heightened awareness of hygiene in us all. This is especially true when food and beverage handling is at the forefront of an experience. It’s more important than ever for hospitality establishments to prove they are taking every precaution necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Doing so allows customers to feel safe and protected which, at a time when trade is suffering, is critical for businesses.

So how exactly is the hospitality sector adapting to create a safe and hygienic environment for all?

Compulsory face masks for staff and customers

In an attempt to curb the rising cases of the virus, the government has announced that face masks and coverings are now compulsory for all bartenders, servers, and anyone using hospitality services. Customers in restaurants, bars and cafes are now required by law to wear a mask at all times, apart from when they are seated at their table. Failure to do so will now result in a £200 fine.

Borris Johnson said that the UK had reached a “perilous turning point” and that these restrictions could last for at least six months. This does not bode well for the hospitality industry, but a willingness to adapt to the “new normal” is key in the fight against COVID-19. Strictly enforcing these new rules will help prevent further damaging consequences later down the line.

Rigorous cleaning schedules

Hygiene in all hospitality establishments should always be of the highest level. However, the devastating effects of coronavirus have created a new hygiene standard that restaurants, bars and cafes must be quick to adapt to.

Hand sanitiser and soap should be readily available to all customers and staff to promote good hand hygiene. Another surefire way to limit the spread of the virus is by making surface cleaning a top priority, especially in high-touch areas like doorknobs and tabletops. (In our recent blog we noted how contactless ordering and scannable QR codes are being enforced). Sanitising cutlery, glassware and other used objects will also reduce the risk of transmission.

Hospitality establishments that fail to comply with the soon-to-be legal obligation of following COVID-19 guidelines run the risk of a £10,000 fine, and worse yet, closure.

Hand towels over air dryers

A recent study by Tork, the leading global professional hygiene brand, found that 86% of people in the UK expect public washrooms to provide a safer hygiene environment than before the pandemic.

The study also found that 77% of people believe hand paper towels are more hygienic for the user than air dryers, and 59% of people wished that more establishments would offer paper hand towels as an alternative.

This goes to show that restaurants, bars and cafes without adequately hygienic washrooms could risk losing businesses. A clean environment could easily be the deciding factor for many when choosing where to eat and drink.

Is the hospitality industry’s effort working?

In a nutshell, yes. Recent data from Public Health England shows that a mere 3% of reported coronavirus cases in week 39 (20-26 September) were related to restaurants, bars and cafes.

This is proof that the hospitality sector is doing everything it can to clean up its act and limit the spread of coronavirus by creating a hygienic environment for all. Despite this, the hospitality industry continues to face harsher restrictions from the government. For example, many in the industry believe the new 10pm curfew is wholly unfair and will do more to damage businesses than control the virus.

How do you think the new curfew rules will impact the industry over the next couple of months?

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