Actions for licensed trade and hospitality premises reopening - Wednesday 15th July - 1m requirements, toilets, risk assessment updates and privacy

Many licensed trade and hospitality premises are hoping to reopen their doors this Wednesday, 15th July, after months of closure.  There is new Scottish Government guidance published on Friday.  There is also an amended checklist for the mandatory risk assessment and statements needed re privacy due to the fact you require to take details of all customers and keep that information.  You may also be required to share that information so you need to be clear on when and how you can do so.  There is quite a lot to think about before Wednesday!

The Scottish Government published new guidance to the Tourism and Hospitality sector on Friday.  In particular this states the exemptions that licensed and other premises have to put in place to allow them to drop down from 2 metres to 1 metre in terms of physical distancing.  The reduction from 2 metres to 1 metre, and the additional exemptions, apply from this Wednesday, 15th July.

This guidance is in addition to the existing guidance.  Current guidance requirements include:

  1. enhanced hygiene throughout premises in keeping with previous guidance;
  2. safe access and exit from the premises putting in place one-way systems, staff monitoring and similar;
  3. clear signage directing customers to toilet facilities, one-way systems, reminding of distancing and similar.  Premises may previously have had 2 metre distance signage in place and will now require to reduce this to 1 metre distance with floor markings or other guidance where necessary; and
  4. safe ordering and payment systems with screens to protect staff and customers and use of card where possible.

There are now specific mitigating factors which the Scottish Government has brought into place to allow premises to reduce to 1 metre distancing.  These are:

  • customers must be seated – in particular no standing at bar areas.
  • ordering points are allowed but these should have screening to separate customers and staff and they should be queued with 1 metre distance in place bar;
  • while the Scottish Government accepts it is not practical to enforce wearing of masks for customers in premises providing food and drink, staff should have adequate protection.  This is referred to as being “where necessary”.  There is no definition given of this.  The guidance refers to front of house staff requiring the protection.  If staff are behind a barrier, for example, taking orders and/or payments they do not require face coverings.  If they have face to face contact with customers in a front of house role without barrier protection then according to the guidance “adequate protection” would be required.  Again there is no definition of what that means so you would have to risk asses this.
  • layout should be reviewed to ensure 1 metre spacing between groups – this takes into account customer space to get up from tables and general movement of customers;
  • adequate ventilation is a requirement and operators are encouraged to review their current provisions.  There is HSE guidance available, if required;
  • operators are encouraged to consider the level of noise in the premises from background music, TV, live sport or around pool and other similar games tables.  It is a concern for the Scottish Government that where people have to raise their voice to be heard, this contributes to the spread of Coronavirus due to the science behind how the virus is spread.  This is described as “key consideration” but levels are not fixed and the guidance states that the operator must take steps to ensure volume levels do not present a risk to staff and customers; and
  • 1 metre zone signage is required.  The Scottish Government guidance provides wording which they wish to be used on signage, namely: “This is a 1 metre physical distancing zone – follow the advice of staff and observe physical distancing”.  The guidance states this is sufficient to meet the notice requirements and states all premises must have notices displayed. 

Risk assessment update– premises should already have a written risk assessment (unless they have less than five employees) in place.  Even with less than five employees in place, it is advisable to have something in writing to show risks have been assessed.  This would help if issues arise and will avoid any question as to whether mitigating factors have been considered and put into place.  The existing checklist provided by the Scottish Government has been updated.  The checklist and the risk assessment must be updated in accordance with the above mitigating factors.  These factors have to be included in the premises risk assessment.  While companies who are multi-site operators may have one risk assessment company wide, or premises with different areas (main bar, public bar/function room, outdoor area) may have one risk assessment for the whole premises, all of these will have to be tailored to each premises and each individual section of premises.  Risk assessment to an outdoor area is different from indoor areas, for example.

Privacy – you should display a notice or put a note on tables or on your website to advise customers why you are collecting their data. For customers and visitors to premises to sit in, the premises need to retain the name of each customer. If customers are attending as a household group, the contact details for a lead member is enough. The details must be their name and a contact phone number, date of visit and arrival and, if possible, departure times.  For larger establishments, and where possible, the Scottish Government is also asking operators to record table numbers or sections where customers were seated.

If a customer does not have a telephone number, they can provide a postal address or an email address. This information must be retained for 21 days then destroyed.

Toilets – there is updated guidance on the use and cleaning of sanitary facilities.

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.  In addition, if you wish a due diligence inspection carried out, we are providing these.  This assists you in ensuring your licensing paperwork (premises licence, notices, Covid-19 notices, staff training and personal licence information) are all properly displayed and considers your risk assessment and checklists in terms of compliance with Scottish Government guidance.

Joanna’s contacts details are landline 0141 370 8116 or mobile 07747 653417 and email on

The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.

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