Alert Level Zero: What Does It Mean for Employers in the Hospitality Industry?
Last Saturday (7th August) the Welsh Government went ahead with their decision to move the country to alert level zero, allowing for unlimited numbers of people to meet indoors and the long-awaited reopening of businesses such as nightclubs. This latest easing of restrictions will allow the hospitality sector to operate at full capacity, a welcomed change for many businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.
However, many employers in the hospitality sector may continue to proceed with caution as the latest rule on the wearing of face coverings in indoor hospitality sectors will see masks scrapped, a cause for concern for businesses who want to avoid an outbreak of Covid-19 in their hospitality setting and amongst their staff.
What changes have come into place?
- All businesses can reopen and operate at full capacity with no social distancing rules in place.
- Facemasks are still mandatory on public transport, in health and social care settings and in shops but are no longer mandatory in restaurants, cafes and bars.
So, what health and safety precautions can employers in the hospitality sector take to avoid an outbreak of Covid-19 amongst their staff and in their workplace?
- Complete a risk assessment. Doing so will allow your business to take the necessary steps required to manage any risks to your workforce and customers following the latest easing of restrictions.
- Ensure thorough cleaning arrangements and personal hygiene remains. Continue to provide hand sanitiser to ensure the upkeep of personal hygiene of staff and customers and provide the equipment necessary to keep on top of environmental cleanliness such as wiping down surfaces before and after each customer.
- Ask customers to continue wearing masks. Although the wearing of masks in the hospitality sector is no longer required, employers can ask customers and employees to continue wearing masks indoors to reduce the spread of covid-19. This practice is advised by the government especially in crowded areas.
- Encourage customers to keep a safe space. With changes to the number of people allowed to meet indoors - now unlimited, businesses can no longer enforce the two-meter rule. Encouraging customers to keep two meters apart where possible, and maybe even continuing with table service can help keep safe distances in hospitality settings.
- Ask staff to continue doing regular lateral flow tests. Regular lateral flow tests will ensure your staff are not carrying the virus and unknowingly passing it on to other staff or customers. This will help keep your business open and running, reducing the risk of staff shortages due to illness or self-isolation.
As an employer you have responsibility to mitigate health and safety risks in the workplace for your employees and customers. It is therefore important you take time to undertake a risk assessment and evaluate what precautions may be necessary to be kept in place or whether any new practices should be implemented to ensure your employees feel safe at work.
At Highfield HR we now have online training courses available to ensure your business is Covid-19 safe. Modules include Covid-19 Risk Assessment and Personal Safety and Covid-19 In the Daily Work Environment, as well as online training on PPE and Infection Control.
For more information on the online training available or for further help and support contact us at [email protected]