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14 May 2021 | Comment | Article by Martin Jones

Indoor hospitality reopening checklist (alcohol licensed premises) – England

As the hospitality industry gears up to welcome customers back into its premises after months of being closed, we wanted to make sure licensed premises are set up and ready to go.

We’ve collated a quick checklist of the rules for you to run through to make sure you’re fully prepared for when you open your doors again on Monday.

We have also a version for Wales here as there are a few differences.



Table service

  • Customers must order, be served and eat or drink whilst seated. This applies to both indoor and outdoor dining and drinking.

Face coverings

  • These must be worn by hospitality staff working in any indoor area which is open to the public
  • Customers must also wear face coverings whilst indoors in hospitality premises, except when seated at a table to eat or drink

Social distancing

  • Social distancing must be in place for indoor service, including when taking customers’ orders
  • The distance should be 2m or 1m+ with risk mitigations, if 2m is not possible.

Test and trace

  • Hospitality premises are still required to take contact details for NHS test and trace reasons. Previously, operators only needed information from one person in a group of customers but it is now a legal requirement that details of all customers are recorded
  • Operators must display the official NHS QR code poster, as well as asking every customer or visitor over the age of 16 to check in to the premises which can be done via the NHS covid–19 app
  • Premises must have a system to make sure information can be collected from customers or visitors who don’t have a smartphone or don’t wish to use the NHS app
  • Collected information must include a name, contact number, email address or postal address, date and time of visit and, where possible, the departure time and the name of the assigned staff member if the customer will interact with only one member of staff. Whilst recording the arrival and departure times can help reduce the number of people who may have to be contacted by the NHS test and trace team if needed, it is recognised that recording departure times isn’t always practicable and, as such, this part isn’t a legal requirement
  • The information must not be used for any other purpose

Customer numbers

  • Groups of up to 6 people or two households of any size may be served indoors, whilst seated, in accordance with the seating rules

Outdoor trading

  • Operators can serve groups of up to 30 people outdoors, previous rules in relation to those customers being seated and table service still apply
  • A customer needing to enter the building (i.e. to pay if there is no other option, to use the WC or to pass through the building) must wear a face covering in the indoor environment and observe social distancing rules.



Further guidance can be found here. If you have any queries about reopening, please get in touch with our expert team by visiting our dedicated licensing page. They’ll be happy to help.


Author bio

Martin Jones


As the Head of the Regulatory Department, Martin acts in a wide-range of regulatory crime and professional regulation matters. Martin has built up over 20 years of experience and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

He leads the firm’s cross-departmental alcohol and gaming licensing teams. Additionally Martin manages the teams providing a range of outsourced services to local authorities, including court representation of local authorities Adult and Children’s Services Departments.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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