Table service rules only to apply in licensed premises

23 September 2020 by
Table service rules only to apply in licensed premises

Table service-only restrictions set to come into force alongside the 10pm hospitality curfew tomorrow will not apply in non-licensed venues, the government has confirmed.

Following confusion after the announcement, the government has clarified that if an operator does not have an alcohol licence, diners will be able to order from a counter, for example in branches of Pret a Manger or McDonald's.

The raft of restrictions announced on Tuesday also saw the wearing of face shields or masks made mandatory for hospitality teams and for customers when not sitting at their tables to eat or drink. They were unveiled following a warning by government scientists that cases of Covid-19 were increasing across the country.

Hospitality operators have questioned if the new measures to tackle the rise are supported by scientific evidence, particularly in relation to the 10pm curfew, which many fear will be devastating for an industry already struggling following a summer blighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, had argued earlier in the week that table service was not necessary across all businesses, including coffee shops.

She had added that it was "hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease" when government data showed that just 5% of infections out of the home were linked to hospitality.

"Where such restrictions have been put in place locally they have not cut infection rates, merely damaged business and cost jobs", she explained.

"Most critically, government needs to recognise this will damage confidence even further and it is now inevitable that the sector will struggle long into 2021."

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