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12th April 2021

Hospitality trade bodies jointly issue key rules for reopening

Ahead of Monday’s outdoor reopening of hospitality, leading trade bodies have published a one-page guide for the key rules that licensees need to know. This summarises the full FAQ document produced by UKH, BII and BBPA, which is regularly kept up to date with the very latest information.

The clarity is especially important after wildly differing – and often incorrect – interpretations of some of the new rules have been sent to businesses by some local authorities. The trade bodies have urged enforcement bodies to take a light-touch but consistent approach. This document will help businesses to push back on incorrect enforcement.

Key points from the one-page guide include:

  • Social distancing applies between groups of customers (not within groups sitting at tables)
  • Payment is permitted at the bar, as a last resort if payment cannot be taken outside
  • Test and trace contact details have to be taken for all customers eating and drinking outside at a venue.

A spokesperson for the trade associations said:

“Reopening of pubs and other hospitality businesses outdoors is a step forward for the full reopening of our sector. Safety of our staff and customers remains our top priority – as is consistent interpretation of the new rules. By referring to this handy checklist, hospitality operators can ensure they are taking the right steps to reopen outdoors”.

The one-pager and FAQs can be downloaded on the respective associations’ websites here (UKH), here (BBPA) and here (BII), and are pasted below, in notes to editors.


Notes to editors



Ø      Review your COVID-19 risk assessment to ensure that all relevant mitigations are in place and that staff are aware of their responsibilities.

Ø      You must have an NHS QR Code poster accessible to all customers as well as an alternative method for recording customer contact details. Customers details must be collected, via the app or otherwise, before they place an order.

Ø      All customers (16+) must provide their details for Test and Trace. You must take reasonable steps to refuse entry to those who refuse to check in or provide false details. You do not have to check customers’ phones if they use the NHS app, but you should satisfy yourself they have done so (i.e. by asking customers if they have checked-in). PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS LAST POINT (ie not having to check phones) IS YET TO BE CONFIRMED IN WRITING BUT IS EXPECTED SOON

Ø      Customers are only allowed indoors to: walk to the outdoor area, use the toilet, baby change and breast feeding facilities or make payment at the bar as a last resort. Customers must wear face coverings indoors and not loiter or congregate.

Ø      Staff must wear face coverings in indoor areas, unless they are separated from customers by a screen or similar. Face coverings do not need to be worn outdoors by staff or customers.

Ø      Outdoor seating and tables should be reconfigured to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) between groups of customers. Government have confirmed that social distancing applies between tables, not within groups sitting at tables.

Ø     Customers must be seated at a table to order, be served and consume their food and/or drink in venues serving alcohol. Ideally payment should also be taken at table, however as a last resort (and only if not possible outdoors) payment can be taken indoors.

Ø      It is no longer the case that a substantial meal has to be ordered with alcohol.

Ø      Groups must be a maximum of 6 people, but can number more than 6, if comprised from only two households.

Ø      Outdoor structures must follow the same rules as smoking shelters – 50% or more of the sides must be open – in order to be classed as “outdoors”.

Ø      You can offer background music and television outside, if it is kept at a reasonable volume and shouting/singing/chanting is prevented. Incidental live music is permitted.

Ø      Customers making takeaway purchases are exempt from both Test and Trace and the requirement to be seated whilst ordering but their purchase must be consumed off-premise (including outside of adjacent areas)

Notes to the editor:


UKHospitality is the trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, representing over 700 companies, operating around 70,000 venues in a sector that employs 3.2 million people.

The body speaks on behalf of a wide range of leisure and ‘out-of-home’ businesses, from FTSE 100 enterprises to niche groups and independent single-site operators – covering pubs, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, contract catering, leisure parks, visitor attractions and coffee shops.

British Beer & Pub Association

The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.  

British Institute of Innkeeping

 The BII is the leading independent licensee support organisation for individuals working in hospitality, with over 9,000 individual members running premises across the UK – predominantly tenanted, leased, managed and freehold pubs. The organisation provides expert helplines, online business support, and guidance on key industry issues, face-to-face networking opportunities and savings on a range of supply deals for its members.

Joint press release from UK Hospitality, the BII and BBPA

For further information, please contact:

Tony Sophoclides, Strategic Affairs Director,, 07887 935 335

Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager:, 07824 359 013

Molly Davis, Head of Communications:, 07539 377752