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Steps to reopen your hospitality business

Our guide will take you through the key steps to safely reopen and ensure the health and safety of your staff and customers.

This page was updated on 10 August 2020

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Local Restrictions in Greater Manchester

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on 30 July that due to an increasing number of Coronavirus cases, local restrictions are introduced in Greater Manchester and the new guidance is enforced as of July 31. See here for more information. 


Since the beginning of the pandemic, most businesses within the hospitality industry were forced to close, but as of 4 July, pubs, restaurants, hotels and others in the sector will be allowed to reopen according to the latest government update.  

To support businesses in the sector to safely reopen, the government has published detailed guidance for: 

To ensure the health and safety of your staff and customers, measures should be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) which mainly occurs through respiratory droplets generated during breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing as well as via indirect contact with contaminated surfaces.  

The main controls should focus on enabling social distancing (2 metres apart or where not possible "one metre plus"), good hygiene (washing your hands regularly) and appropriate workplace cleaning to disinfect hand contact surfaces.  

Regardless of the sectorall businesses should consider undertaking the practical actions outlined in our business checklist when reopening.


Become COVID-19 safe – Business checklist

  1. Conduct and display your Risk Assessment 
  2. Support homeworking wherever possible 
  3. Provide good hygiene facilities at work 
  4. Enable Social Distancing at work 
  5. Play you part in easing the pressure on Public Transport 
  6. Manage visitors, suppliers and customers 

In addition, businesses in the hospitality industry should further consider the sector specific mitigation measures below.


Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Customer communications

Businesses should ensure customers are aware of the safety measures that have been implemented. These could be published on your website, as well as included in email communications prior to customer visitsAppropriate signage on your premises will also remind customers to follow the guidelines set. In addition, you should always encourage compliance with limits on gatherings. 

Indoor gatherings are currently limited to members of any two households (or support bubbles) whereas outdoor gatherings are limited to members of any two households (or support bubbles), or a group of a maximum of six people from any number of households. 



Businesses should keep a temporary record of their customers for 21 days to assist the NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaksNew guidelines published by the Department of Health and Social Care on 2 July have set out the steps businesses can take to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors. Public Health England has also produced a Customer Logging Toolkit for track and trace including a variety of template materials for businesses to display, as well as guidance on how it works. 

To support businesses to better understand what information they should collect from their customers and visitors to support the NHS Test and Trace service, we have developed an easy-to-read guide which is available to download here.

Additional guidance relating to data collection to support businesses collecting customer and visitor details for contact tracing, has been published by the Information Commissioner's Office, UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights.

In addition to assisting the NHS, asking guests to make a booking prior to their arrival may help you manage and ensure you have sufficient social distancing both inside your premises for those dining and ensure that large queues do not build up outside of your premise. Read our quick guide to help you safely manage queues forming inside and outside of your business.

To support restaurants (including hotel restaurants), cafes and pubs and incentivise consumers to return to these establishments, the Government has launched the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. The scheme which will be valid for the month of August, from Monday to Wednesday, will provide a 50% discount (maximum discount of £10 per person) on food served for consumption on the premises. Restaurants and other establishments can register for the scheme and download promotional materials through the government website. Guidance has also been published on how businesses can claim the reimbursement for discounts provided through the scheme. 



Enhance the cleaning regime both in the front of house and in the kitchen as well as in staff areas such as break rooms.  

The Food Standards Agency have general information on cleaning within a kitchen environment here: and have also developed a cleaning scheduleIn addition to the usual cleaning regime, you can also go over and disinfect all hand touch surfaces once more prior to closing. When cleaning and drying used crockery and cutlery, the use of the dishwasher is preferable. If this is not feasiblemake sure you wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel. 

General principles of cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic and cleaning guidance for a work place/area where a person with suspected Coronavirus has been, is also available on the government website

Adjusting operations 

  • Minimise customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments  
  • Clean non-disposable condiment containers after each use or provide disposable condiments.
  • Reduce the number of surfaces touched by both staff and customers 
  • Minimise contact between front of house staff and customers at points of service  
  • Venues should not permit live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place indoors in front of a live audience and should reconfigure these spaces to increase seating capacity. From 11 July, live performances can resume outdoors and businesses should take into account the performing arts guidance when organising outdoor performances to socially distanced audiences.
  • Venues should take necessary measures to avoid having people raise their voices to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus via droplets. These measures could include refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting and if necessary, ensuring the volume is appropriate to allow normal conversations to take place 
  • Consider introducing additional litter bins to encourage customers to dispose of their own waste, such as wrappers. This will reduce the need for staff to touch items that have been left or touched by customers, as well as reduce littering on and around your premises 


Security Considerations

Security officers / Door supervisors should:

  • Be equipped with the relevant protective equipment and hand sanitiser
  • Be trained appropriately to communicate the new business regulations including social distancing guidelines
  • Ensure outdoor areas are regularly monitored to avoid groups forming


Hotels and other guest accommodation

Registration – bookings

Hotels should ensure a temporary record of visitor contact details is kept for 21 days to assist the NHS Test and Trace service. New guidance published on 2 July sets out the actions businesses should take to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors.

Advice on local restrictions 

Accommodation providers should consider their approach towards guests from inside areas with local restrictions and not intentionally facilitate interaction between more than one household/support bubble indoors. Providers not complying with these responsibilities may be at risk of the premises being closed. Further guidance relating to the responsibilities of accommodation providers are available through the government website, here

Adjust reception services

  • Ensure hand sanitiser is available at the desk and staff use it between serving guests
  • Ensure social distancing is in place to reduce risk of transmission and if required introduce screens or barriers to separate staff from guests
  • If you have a porter, ensure they are properly trained to effectively manage queues, communicate to guests the safety measures in place and encourage visitors to follow social distancing
  • Consider minimising services offering guests support with luggage, and if staff do help guests with luggage, they should follow social distancing measures whilst collecting luggage and either take it to the room before the guest arrives there or knock on the door, step back and leave the luggage at the door. After handling luggage, staff should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser
  • Consider introducing a central key card deposit box placed in the lobby to minimise contact with staff and ensure used keys are afterwards disinfected
  • Consider providing a welcome note or material to inform guests of the safety measures implemented and promote social distancing and good hygiene practice
  • Consider minimising lift usage from reception as well as reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encouraging use of stairs wherever possible.


Adapt room service offering 

Room service can be preferable to dining at the hotel restaurant as social distancing can be more easily observed. However, you would need to establish a process to minimise the risk of cross-contamination and inform guests of this in advance. Some key considerations for operating room service include:  

  • Staff following social distancing and not bringing service trays into the room 
  • Staff washing their hands both prior to carrying the service tray and after delivering it 
  • Minimising any paperwork required and discouraging the use of cash for paying for the service as well as tipping. Any guest tips should be included in the bill 
  • Informing guests of the process of removing the tray after they are finished (do they leave the tray outside their door or retain in the room for later collection)  
  • Once trays have been collected, they will need to be disinfected before reuse.  


Housekeeping measures  

Amongst other hotels will need to review the frequency of room cleaning taking into account different lengths of stay. Once a guest has checked out, it is important that all hand contact surfaces are disinfected. This could include:  

  • Light switches, flush handles, door handles (inside and out), hairdryer handles, minibar handles and kettle handles (including the lid) 
  • Bedside tables and desks 
  • Remote control  
  • Wardrobe doors 
  • Taps  
  • Toilet seats and toilet bin 
  • Iron and ironing board 
  • Safe handle and buttons  
  • Heater and/or air conditioner controls.  


Transportation of guests  

If you offer a transportation service for guests you should consider:  

  • Providing hand sanitiser in shuttle bus service  
  • Disinfecting the vehicle between journeys 
  • Adapting capacity to enable social distancing 
  • Encouraging contactless payment 
  • Minimising assistance with luggage where possible. If help is required staff should follow social distancing whilst handing the luggage and wash their hands or use hand sanitiser afterwards 

 Waste disposal 

Similarly to the guidance provided for restaurants and pubs, hotels should consider adding litter bins to reduce the need for staff to touch items that have been left behind by guests. 

Managing the emergence of COVID-19 cases 

In the event that guest displays symptom of coronavirus while staying in overnight accommodation, they should inform the accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate and book a test. If the test is positive, the guest should return to their home if they reasonably can using private transport. If they are unable to do so either because they aren’t feeling well or cannot arrange transport, their circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional and, if necessary, the local authority.

If the guest is unable to return home, the accommodation provider should discuss meal and laundry provision with the guest, and consider whether a symptomatic guest should clean their own room. Unless otherwise stated in the contractual terms of the booking, the guest will be expected to pay the costs of an extended stay in all but exceptional circumstances (e.g. cases where the accommodation provider has failed to create a COVID-secure environment).

In the event of a confirmed case, hotels can follow the government guidance on cleaning in a non-healthcare setting to decontaminate the area. In addition to isolating and cleaning the room, ensure that touch points are also cleaned not only on the floor level where the infected guest was staying, but on other levels as well, as other guests may have picked up the virus and transferred it to other floors and areas. 


Health clubs / fitness centres /pools  

At present indoor health clubsfitness centres and pools should remain closed, though these will be allowed to open from 25 July 2020.



In addition to the guidance relating to hotels, hostels should also consider safety measures relating to shared shower facilities and locker room and luggage storage 

  • Shared shower facilities should be shut down or assigned to one household group or support bubble. Hostels could also consider establishing a booking system and ensuring the facilities are cleaned thoroughly between reservations.  
  • In locker rooms and luggage storage facilities, keypads should be disinfected regularly and luggage left behind should be disposed of, after being safely stored for 72 hours. 
  • If any staff are required to handle luggage, they should ensure they wash their hands or use hand sanitiser afterwards.  

If guests develop COVID-19 symptoms they should follow the process outlined in the hotels section. It is particularly important to prevent any guests from entering the premises until any shared areas can be thoroughly cleaned 


Bed and Breakfasts 

The Bed and Breakfast Association and its members have developed a resource page to support bed and breakfast and guesthouse owners to safely reopen which can be accessed here.



A detailed guide including further advice and risk assessments to support hospitality businesses become COVID-19 secure has been produced by UK Hospitality and can be accessed here 


For further sector specific advice and guidance on working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the government’s dedicated webpage. A reopening tool is also available on the government website here.  



Businesses seeking information for the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure sector can also access a range of resources on Marketing Manchester's Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub. 

Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub

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The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.  

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