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Keeping your business open safely

Covid-19 presents additional challenges to businesses needing to manage both staff and customer health and safety.

You, as a business owner, must put in place mandatory measures in relation to Covid 19 risk assessments and track and trace.

Lockdown rules for businesses from midnight 16 October 

A new tier system was implemented across England on Wednesday 14 October. As of midnight Friday 16 October London will move from Level 1 to Level 2, which means tighter restrictions will apply.  Under Level 2 (high) – people are prevented from socialising with other households indoors. The rule of six will apply outdoors. People will also be advised to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

Please follow the rules: 

Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants

  • Indoor area – you can only accept group bookings from people from the same household
  • Outdoor area – you can take bookings and admit customers to your premises by groups of no more than six people. However, if the groups consists of different households, they must socially distance. You must help facilitate this.
  • You are also expected to take steps to ensure that there is no mixing between people from different groups.

Businesses must continue to follow these rules:

  • Table service only: All customers must be seated whilst consuming food and drink. If your premises sells alcohol you must provide table service. Your customers will not be able to order at a counter or bar. All food and drink must be ordered and served at the table.
  • Test and trace: designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, are now legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and are required to display official NHS QR code posters under law
  • Face coverings: are compulsory for bar staff, shop workers, waiters and taxi drivers to help control the spread of coronavirus. Customers must also wear a face covering in a premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink. There must also be a clearly visible sign to make customers aware that they must, unless exempt, wear a face covering.
  • 10pm closing time: bars, pub and restaurants must close at 10pm on the dot, and remain closed until 5am. 


  • Seating areas must close by 10pm.
  • Businesses must not allow counter service beyond 10pm.
  • Delivery and click and collect service is permitted between 10pm and 5am.
  • Orders can only be taken by phone, online or by post.
  • Customers collecting food or drink are not permitted inside the premises for any reason between 10pm and 5am. You will have to hand over the order to customers whilst they wait outside.
  • You will need to manage any queues forming outside your premises and ensure that customers and delivery drivers who are waiting for their orders follow social distancing rules and do not cause a nuisance to residents and passers-by.

Find out more here.

Social distancing  

Social distancing remains a key measure to reduce the risk of spreading Covid 19 and remains your responsibility both within your premises and outside, including queues. Please consider appropriate staffing, security and queue management and make sure that there are sufficient markings in place to support two meter social distancing and reduce to one meter only if risk mitigation measures are in place. Also consider one way systems and limits to the number of people inside your business at any one time.

Please see our specific social distancing and safety advice for: 

There is also business specific guidance developed both by Government and industry to assist you in identifying the measures you must have in place to ensure your business is Covid 19 secure. See here

If you feel you need further assistance, please email to arrange to talk to an Environmental Health Practitioner  

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