Covid 19 - England Indoor Opening Guidance Updated
As we all celebrate the indoor opening of significant parts of the hospitality industry today there has been released (at 10.01-one minute after most venues opened the doors) the latest version of Restrictions on businesses and venues in England.
This is a comprehensive summary of the position which contains the list of all business which can now open and repeats that the following businesses must remain closed:
- nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
- sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars
It sets out a number of additional steps to ensure the safety of the public:
- reasonable steps to prevent large gatherings of people which risk a breakdown of social distancing rules.
- Locations with very young children, will find preserving consistent distance challenging. Where it is not possible for young children to maintain social distancing, it is even more important that businesses implement other protective measures, such as frequent cleaning and handwashing.
- Individual businesses or venues should also consider the cumulative impact of many venues reopening in a small area.
- These could include:
- staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas
- arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues
- advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue
It is also worth remembering that the owner, proprietor, or manager carrying out a business (or a person responsible for other premises) who fails to fulfil the obligations placed on them in law, without reasonable excuse, commits an offence. This is a wide list and leaves employees as well as employers open to enforcement which can include:-
- Fixed Penalty Notice (fine) starting at £1,000 for the first offence and rising to £10,000 upon repeat offences
- Coronavirus Improvement Notice (which will require a minimum of 48 hours for a business to introduce necessary measures)
- Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice (which will impose the immediate closure or restriction of an activity within premises for a 48 hour period where rapid action is needed)
- Coronavirus Restriction Notice and Prohibition Notice (which will require the closure or restriction of an activity for a 7 day period)
- It is also an offence, without reasonable excuse to fail to comply with a notice, this may result in a fine, or where necessary court proceedings, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.