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Guidance for maintaining a COVID-safe hospitality business

Our guide will take you through the key steps to continue operating safely and ensuring compliance with the latest government guidance.

This page was updated on 27 January 2022.


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

Government guidance

To support the recovery of the hospitality sector, the government announced in their Hospitality Strategy, that it will be extending:

  • the provisions introduced during the pandemic that allow for pavement licences to get fast-tracked with an intention to make this measure permanent. This means that it will be easier for pubs, restaurants and cafes to offer al fresco dining and serve more customers outside. Where these licences are granted, the expectation is that local authorities will allow them to remain in place for a year but not beyond 30 September 2022.

  • the temporary permissions for off-sales alcohol for another 12 months

On 22 December 2021, the government also announced that certain permitted development rights (PDR) introduced during the pandemic are now being made permanent. This includes local hospitality businesses (e.g. pubs, cafes and restaurants) being able to put up marquees and other moveable structures for an unlimited number of days without the need for a planning application.

Working safely during the pandemic

Full guidance on how to continue to operate safely during the pandemic is available through the government's updates guides seen below:

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 droplets and aerosols generated during breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing as well as via contact with contaminated surfaces.   

  • To reduce the risk of the virus spreading through aerosols you could consider how best to increase ventilation in your facility
  • To reduce the risk of the virus spreading through droplets you could consider:
    • adopting measures to reduce contact between people, particularly between customers and staff. As social distancing guidance no longer applies, businesses can alternatively consider:
      • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’
      • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other, or using back-to-back or side-to-side working, instead of face-to-face 
    • encouraging the use of face coverings by employees or customers in enclosed and crowded spaces. While these are no longer a legal requirement, the government suggests that people continue to wear these particularly in indoor areas where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
  • To reduce the risk of the virus spreading through contaminated surfaces, consider implementing a rigorous cleaning regime and providing additional handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser, particularly in high-traffic or higher-risk areas. 

All hospitality businesses should consider undertaking the practical actions outlined in our business checklist below:

Remain COVID-19 safe – Business checklist

1. Review and update your Risk Assessment to include the risk of COVID-19. For more information on What to include in your COVID-19 risk assessment, visit the Health and Safety Executive guide.

2. Increase frequency of cleaning, provide good hygiene facilities and promote good hygiene practices. Visit the government website for the General principles of cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic

3. Provide adequate ventilation (consider both natural and mechanical ventilation)

4. Ensure that employees and customers who feel unwell do not attend your premises. By law, you must not knowingly allow staff who are required to self-isolate to come to work. 

5. Support NHS Test and Trace. While asking people to check-in at your venue, is no longer a legal requirement, you can continue to display an NHS QR code poster. If you choose to display a QR code, you should also have an alternative process in place to collect contact details from individuals without a smartphone or access to the app. 

If there is an outbreak linked to your venue, that is 2 or more COVID-19 cases on the same day, individuals who checked in to the venue on the same day will receive a venue alert advising them to book a test. Your venue will not be named in the alert and there will not be a requirement to self-isolate unless the individual alerted tests positive for COVID-19.  

6. Have a clear plan for communicating the safety measures you have in place to your staff, contractors, customers and guests.


Further information on how to keep your workplace safe as coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are eased is available on the Health and Safety Executive website.

The latest advice on keeping workplaces safe

Financial Support for the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Sector

Access our guide to financial support available

Further sector-specific mitigation measures businesses can consider can be seen 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 could also be used to remind customers of these.


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

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

Adjusting operations 

  • Minimise customer self-service of 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 the front of house staff and customers at points of service  
  • 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 litter on and around your premises 

Security Considerations

Security officers / Door supervisors should:

  • Be trained appropriately to communicate the safety measures in place
  • Avoid having customers pass ID directly to them and could for example have customers show their ID instead.

Hotels and other guest accommodation

Reception services

  • Consider making hand sanitiser available at the reception desk 
  • 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 good hygiene practice

Cleaning and Housekeeping measures  

Hotels and other accommodation venues can consider making a checklist of all main touchpoints needing to be disinfected once a guest has checked outThis 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 could consider:  

  • Providing hand sanitiser in shuttle bus service  
  • Disinfecting the vehicle between journeys  
  • Encouraging contactless payment 
  • Minimising assistance with luggage where possible. If help is required staff should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser afterwards 

Waste disposal 

Similarly to the guidance provided for restaurants and pubs, hotels could 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 of a guest testing positive from COVID-19 or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they should return home if they reasonably can. Providers should discuss with the guest if they can travel home, or whether they need to change their booking in order for them to stay at the accommodation facility to self-isolate. More information on how to manage guests who need to self-isolate is available on the government's "Working Safely" guide

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 touchpoints 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.  


For further sector-specific advice and guidance on working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the government’s dedicated webpage

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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