News Rule of 6 and Test and Trace in England

More change for the public and the hospitality industry

Once again we seem to be facing a period of significant and rapid change as to what the public and the hospitality industry can and cannot do under COVID. As the weekend approaches, and in the absence of any specific regulations being made public at this stage, here is a quick review of what the Government announced on Wednesday, relevant to the hospitality industry:

  • From Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. This change will simplify and clarify the rules on social gatherings, so they are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. There will be a limited number of exemptions. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together. Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30. From Monday, this limit will be enforceable in law. See refreshed guidance on social contact, including the exceptions to the 6 person limit

  • Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days. Core COVID-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses, and egregious breaches enforced. The government has also published simplified COVID-19 Secure guidance.

  • The government will support Local Authorities and police forces to respond to breaches of COVID-19 Secure guidelines. We will launch a register of newly qualified and recently retired Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) so that Local Authorities can recruit more quickly and fill any gaps. In addition, we will introduce COVID-19 Secure Marshals to help local authorities support social distancing in towns and city centres.

  • The government will review plans to pilot larger audiences in venues this month. Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high. We will review our intention to return audiences to stadia and conference centres from 1 October.

  • The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future. This has been introduced in Bolton, following a steep rise in cases, and will seek to restrict activities that may lead to a spread in the virus.
     

These measures apply to England – but there may be different rules if you live in an area under local lockdown and you should check those rules here. If you are in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, different rules may apply.”
 
The full statement can be found here, and applies only to England.
 
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-what-has-changed-9-september
 
When specific regulations are published we will let you know.
 
The COVID-19 Secure guidance referred to above has been updated to include the requirement to obtain details from at least one member of a party at your premises, albeit that the regulations containing sanctions for not doing so have yet to be published.
 
The guidance states as follows:
 
“In order to ensure that businesses are able to remain open, we are now mandating that you ask one member of every party who visit your premises to provide their contact details to assist NHS Test and Trace. You must have a system in place to ensure that you can collect that information from your customers and visitors. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording this information – including restaurants, hotels and pubs. These existing systems may be an effective means of collecting contact details, but if such a system is not in place, this will now be required in order to be compliant with the new regulations on NHS Test and Trace. Any business that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties. It is vital that you comply with these regulations to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open.

Businesses must also keep records of staff working patterns for a period of 21 days to assist NHS Test and Trace contain clusters or outbreaks. Find out more about how NHS Test and Trace works.”
 
We recommend that you re-read the guidance to ensure you are fully up to date.
 
Further details to follow.