Risk assessment/staff training

Employers have a legal responsibility to protect people from harm. This includes protecting your workers and customers from the coronavirus.

This information will help you to think about all the areas that you need to work on to be COVID-secure for everyone whilst running your business.

Here is a checklist on what you need to do to carry out a risk assessment:

  • identify what activity or situation might cause the spread of the virus
  • think about who could be at risk
    • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
    • remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control/reduce the risk
    • Contact your insurance company. (Some are requiring businesses to have their risk assessment written down as part of their cover)

If you have less than five employees, you do not have to write anything down, but it might help if you do. This link provides a basic risk assessment template to use.


Staff must be well trained on the plans you have in place and be regularly reminded and supervised. Posters may also be helpful. Please see the guides on our website.

Who should go to work

You should plan for the minimum number of people needed at your premises for it to work safely and effectively. Any staff that are ‘extremely vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable’ must be individually risk assessed.

You are required by law to report if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19. You can report if a member of staff has tested positive for COVID-19 on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

Workplaces should not encourage the use of extra PPE as it is not considered to be very useful in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

The spread of COVID-19 in hospitality should be controlled through physical distancing, personal hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, fixed teams or partnering and not through the use of PPE alone.

If you do include the use of PPE in your risk assessment, where the risk of spread is high, your risk assessment must acknowledge that the protection provided by PPE is extremely limited. If staff are asked to wear PPE, it must also be provided free of charge and fit properly. 

Customers and workers who want to wear a face covering should be allowed to do so.

Any staff wearing PPE should also be given guidance on how to do so safely. 

Continue with any PPE you would use under normal circumstances.

Physical distancing rules apply to staff AND customers

You must maintain physical distancing wherever possible throughout the premises. This includes:

  • customer areas
  • front of house
  • back of house
  • staff areas

2m is the goal

If this is not achievable, 1m plus is acceptable as long as you have extra controls to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Please consider the following to maintain physical distancing:

Work out what is a safe number of people in your premises to allow physical distancing throughout.

You should not allow people to:

  • Gather indoors in groups of more than two households (a support bubble counts as one household)
  • Gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from just two households
  • Interact socially with anyone outside the group they are attending a place with, even if they see other people they know

Staff could be asked to arrive and leave at different times, especially if they need to get changed.

Think about leaving enough time between bookings for customers to come and go without meeting each other. Phone and online bookings are recommended.

Arrange for goods to be delivered at different times and when you are closed to customers

Queuing should be avoided as much as possible. If it cannot be avoided, then it must be managed to allow social distancing.

Walk routes around the business, paying attention to narrow and busy areas

Customers should be seated and encouraged to stay seated as much as possible. The customer seating must be physically distanced, so think about this as a circle around the customer. You should not allow eating and drinking standing up.

Taking orders can be done in a number of ways, having an App could be one option.

When you are serving customers and clearing away you could think about placing a tray on the table for the customers place their used crockery etc on, or place a trolley or foldaway table at the end of the table. Tables should not be pre laid with cutlery, glasses or condiments.

Limit the number of staff working in the kitchen/servery/bar and limit staff movement by giving them permanent areas to work in. Think about back to back or side to side working and communication when staff need to move around.

Put up signs for customers and staff as a reminder about physical distancing.

If you use staff to manage queues or entry points, please ensure they do not block or partially block these areas so that customers can pass by using physical distancing.


Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.

Look to improve ventilation throughout the whole premises:

  • Back of house (including stock rooms etc.)
  • Front of house (including W.C’s, corridors etc.)
  • Staff areas

Natural ventilation

Where possible, think about ways to increase the supply of fresh air by opening windows and doors. (Think about fixing fly screens where they may pose a risk to food/food surfaces or equipment).

Mechanical ventilation

You can use most types of air conditioning as normal. However if you use a ventilation system that circulates air to different rooms you should consider turning off recirculation and use a fresh air inlet supply.

Try and improve the circulation of outside air in occupied spaces by opening windows.

You do not need to:

  • Adjust air conditioning systems that mix some of the extracted air with fresh air and return it to the room, as this increases the fresh air ventilation rate
  • Adjust systems in individual rooms or portable units as these operate on 100% recirculation.

If you’re unsure, ask the advice of your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer or adviser.


You must keep your venue clean to prevent the spread of coronavirus through touching contaminated surfaces.

Surfaces that touch food (food contact surfaces)

Carry out two-stage cleaning on all food contact surfaces, as is usual good hygiene practice. This means cleaning first and then disinfecting/sanitising afterwards (leaving the chemical on the surface for the time recommended by the manufacturer (this may be on the back of the bottle). 

The chemical disinfectant you use must meet British Standards: EN 1276 or 13697. A list of those known to comply are listed here: http://www.disinfectant-info.co.uk/ A quick acting disinfectant/sanitiser (e.g. 30 seconds) is best.

Plates, Cups and Cutlery

Please remember to disinfect/sanitise plates, cups and cutlery to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This can be done with the use of an effective dishwasher, a chemical disinfectant/sanitiser (as above) or, hot water not lower than 60oC (note this temperature will not kill bacteria only viruses).

If you are using condiments in bottles, these must also be adequately cleaned between customers. 

You should also remove all table cloths and thoroughly clean and disinfect the table.

Surfaces frequently touched by hands (hand contact surfaces)

All hand contact surfaces in the business (customer and staff areas) must be adequately cleaned and disinfected/sanitised. Think about high traffic areas and items that are being handled such as laminated menus, light switches, handles, tills, pens, beer pull handles.

If your menus cannot be cleaned then opt for disposable ones or hands-free menus such as chalk boards.

All customers should be encouraged to pay with a card or via an App. However, where this is not possible staff should follow this guidance:

(a) The till operator should wear a glove to take money (assume the money is contaminated)

(b) Put the money into a quarantine box and leave it there untouched for 3 days (the virus can survive for 3 days on money), or disinfect the money

(c) Remove the glove and give change from the till using your hand

(d) Place the money in a dish and push it towards the customer. Disinfect the dish at the beginning and end of each day

(e) Remove the glove when not at the till (“easy glove” is good for this https://www.easyglove.co.uk/

Use the same disinfectant/sanitiser chemical as used on the food contact surfaces in the kitchen or you can use a diluted bleach spray.


Public toilets should be kept open to promote good hygiene but kept clean and allow physical distancing.

Suggestions include, but are not limited to:

  • encourage physical distancing – limit the number of customers allowed into the toilet at one time e.g. one in one out, and use floor markers to show where customers may queue
  • make hand sanitiser pumps available at entry/exit points to the toilet
  • ensure hot water, liquid soap and hygienic hand drying facilities are available e.g. paper towels. Avoid the use of fabric reusable towels
  • keep the toilet well ventilated by fixing windows open and, where privacy is not affected, doors too
  • clean the areas more regularly. Set clear guidance for staff. Have a cleaning schedule on display
  • empty bins more often/provide more waste bins
  • use signs/poster to show good handwashing technique

Collecting customer information/data gathering

Please help the NHS ‘Test and Trace’ service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days. 

This information may be requested to help NHS Test and Trace and could help the country to contain outbreaks.

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their customers and visitors. If you do not already do this, you should think about an easy system of asking customers to write down their name and contact details e.g. telephone number/email. This must be done in a way to that customers cannot see other customers’ contact details.

An example of an easy, safe system

On entry to your business, a member of staff writes down the customers’ contact details, puts them into a dated envelope and then seal. The seal could be signed and the envelope stored in a locked drawer for 21 days. After 21 days it can be destroyed.

The government is working with industry and relevant bodies to design a system in line with data protection legislation. Details will be set out shortly.

Bad weather plans

Have a plan in place for when the weather turns bad. 

Customers seated outside may try to move inside when there is no room to do so safely.

You could:

  • advise customers on arrival, that if the weather turns bad, they will not be able to move from their outside seating to other areas of the premises without first checking with a member of staff. The member of staff will assess if there is room to safely move.


Maintain physical distancing when providing entertainment and discourage raised voices, shouting, singing, dancing or chanting.

Consider things like:

  • Not playing loud music or broadcasts that encourage raised voices shouting, singing, dancing or chanting
  • Encouraging online or phone booking and tickets
  • Communicating the arrangements for and limits on entertainment to customers in advance or with posters
  • Have staff supervising customers

Important note: At this time live performances (drama, comedy, music) are not permitted to take place in front of a live audience.

For further advice on this please contact the Licensing Team at: ehl.safety@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Off sales

A new law is due to come into force at the end of July, which will allow any premises with an ‘on sales’ only licence to add ‘off sales’ to their licence for a temporary period, until September 2021.

If you already have on and off sales on your licence, you may need to check your conditions to ensure that you don’t have restrictions which make it difficult to work to your new model of operation. Contact the Licensing Team for advice on variations at: ehl.safety@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Alongside the new law there will be a streamlined process for placing table and chairs on the pavement outside your premises (pavement licence).

Find more information relating to pavement licences.

Government guidance

Find further guidance on reopening your business and how to keep workers and customers safe on the government’s website

Other useful links:

Reopening and adapting your food business:

Food Standards Agency

Reopening and adapting your food business during Covid-19

Five steps to working safely

Guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation

Handwashing Technique

Contact information:

Thank you for acting responsibly and enabling the city to reopen safely

Food and Health & Safety Team

Email: ehl.food@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Phone: 01273 294 416 or 0127 294 4491

Download the checklist.