Premises offering takeaway food and alcohol in the Square Mile are being encouraged by the City of London Corporation and City of London Police to check how Government legislation and public health guidance on Covid-19 applies to their licences.
As summer approaches, increasing numbers of businesses are expected to seek to re-open their premises, prompting the City Corporation’s Licensing Committee and the police force to issue the reminder this week.
Under current guidelines, takeaway food and drink premises may re-open, on condition that purchases are consumed away from the outlet (including a beer garden or any outdoor space that forms part of the premises), while restaurants, pubs, and bars are allowed to open, but only to provide a takeaway service.
Premises wishing to reopen should contact the City Corporation’s Licensing Team ([email protected]) and the City of London Police’s Licensing Team ([email protected]) to receive further advice and information.
The City Corporation and City of London Police are also stressing the importance of ‘social distancing’ in the City – i.e. maintaining a two-metre distance between people not from the same household – and to note that gatherings of more than six people are not permitted.
Sophie Fernandes, chairman of the City Corporation’s Licensing Committee, said: “My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that licensed premises in the City are able to welcome people back very soon in line with Government guidance, so our teams are ready and waiting to offer advice about licenses and trading conditions.
“We appreciate that times are tough and we know that businesses look forward to returning to some semblance of normality so, as long as the checks are made and social distancing maintained, we can help them re-open and get back on their feet.”
Commander David Evans from City of London Police said: “As the City moves towards an easing of lockdown, it is more important than ever that licensed premises do so in a safe and compliant way.
“This is not only in terms of their licence, but also in observing the Covid-19 regulations and ensuring their customers do so, too.
“Our officers will be ensuring that licenced premises in the City act responsibly and within the law, offering advice about the terms of their license.
“Officers will continue to engage and explain the Covid-19 regulations, only resorting to enforcement as a last resort, where encouragement has not resulted in compliance.”
The City of London Police and City Corporation have issued detailed guidelines relating to people inside any premises who are purchasing food or drink to take away. Measures outlined include:
- Use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the premises if they have Covid-19 symptoms (e.g. fever, persistent dry cough)
- Use floor markings inside the commercial spaces to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of two metres, particularly in the most crowded areas, such as serving counters and tills.
- Place plexiglass barriers at tills and counters if feasible, as an additional element of protection for workers and customers.
- Encourage the use of contactless payments where possible, without disadvantaging older or vulnerable customers.
- Best practice would be to enquire where the customer intends to consume their takeaway food or drink, and to remind them that they must do this in line with public health guidelines.
The guidelines relating to people outside of any premises who have purchased food or drink to take away include:
- You should have a keen awareness of the area around your premises, and engage in constant liaison with businesses and building management in the surrounding area to best manage the outside space.
- You must not provide outside seating areas for the consumption of food and/or drink within the footprint of your premises. If you would normally do so, we recommend that you either remove them or if this is not possible place signs and/or tape to discourage customers from consuming food/drink within the footprint of your venue.
- Where queuing is taking place, you should use queue management systems to maintain a two-metre distance between people.
- Best practice would be to designate a member of staff (preferably, in hi-visibility) to constantly patrol the outside area in the vicinity of your premises. If crowds begin to gather, this member of staff should seek to remind patrons of their responsibilities and disperse where necessary.