Reopening After COVID: Regulations for the Hospitality Industry to Follow
In recent coronavirus updates, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a staged reopening of the hospitality industry beginning next month. From June 1, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to welcome up to 20 patrons into their enclosed space with potential to increase gradually by mid-July, so long as Victorians follow guidelines and do their part to stay safe and vigilant. It’s worth noting that the timeline set out by the Victorian Government is only a guide and is subject to review with a reliance on how closely Victorians adhere to restrictions.
While the prospect that cafes and restaurants can re-open for business is certainly exciting, there are strict regulations that must be observed, meaning that venues will look and operate differently from pre-covid standards.
Whether you’re about to re-open June 1st or you’re someone who’s ready to go back to support your favourite local venue, these are the government regulations that venues adhere by to reopen safely:
1. Follow Physical Distancing Rules
As per government instructions, venues can allow for only one patron per four square metres of space and must set tables must be placed 1.5 metres apart. These distancing rules must also be observed in waiting areas, with decal or taped marking spots on the ground to remind patrons to keep their distance until they’re allowed to enter the venue. Larger venues could also place partitions between tables to further enforce this, or take things to the next level like this restaurant in Amsterdam who have installed greenhouses to separate diners and are serving food on wooden planks to ensure the 1.5m distance.
2. Follow Safe Hygiene Practices
Hand sanitiser should be provided to patrons for use on arrival. This could be distributed by a friendly staff member or by placing a bottle near the entrance with signage for patrons to help themselves. Encourage contactless card payments where possible to reduce cash handling and contact. For tap and go payments requiring a pin, consider providing sanitising wipes for the card machine.
Staff will also experience changes with increases in cleaning, staff health checks and temperature checks. In Hong Kong, where bars and restaurants have been reopened since May 8, temperature checks on patrons are carried out with some venues requiring patrons to wear masks as an entry requirement, only to be removed once seated.
3. No Bar Service
While the easing of venue restrictions allow for a limited number of patrons in one space, bars and pubs that do not offer spaced seating or regular portioned meals are to remain closed. The Department of Health and Human Safety states that the ‘meals’ must be considered a full meal and not just a snack.
4. Patron Traceability
All patrons who choose to venture out to venues will be required to leave their first name, last name and mobile number with the venues to keep track of who has been where in case of any infection clusters. For venues to have this information will mean they’re able to work closely with the government for rapid contact tracing.
5. Removal of Communal Stations
Communal water, cutlery and condiment stations will be removed to reduce contact between customers. Instead, these items will be placed on tables and washed thoroughly between guests. Alternatively, disposable items could be used.
6. Encourage Reservations
These will help control numbers and reduce disappointment that might come from patrons having to line up for a table for extended periods of time. However, reservations come with the risk of no-shows. To combat this, credit card details could be taken with the booking and a set fee charged if the booking is not cancelled within a given time frame. Some venues, like Lankan Filling Station in Sydney, are providing a set banquet menu which requires prepayment before arriving reducing the chance of diners not showing up and also reducing staff and customer contact.
To help you make sure that you’re respecting all the government regulations for reopening, we’ve created an easy checklist for you to follow here: