This morning the government, finally, published their guidelines on reopening on July 4th.
Waking up to a 51-page government document is not the way to start your day. How did it come to this? Only a few months ago I was swearing if I ever had to write the words ‘dehydrated lime wheel’ again I was going to shoot someone, now I have sex dreams about the bastard things. Anyway, I digress.
‘Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services’ is the title of the 12 hour delayed document and also the last time it is in anyway clear. Here is the problem, we were expecting a document that put in black and white what our industry needed to do to keep its staff safe and help prevent a second wave. What we got is a document so loose in its wording that it seems that the government are setting up the hospitality industry as the scapegoat in the event of a second wave.
Here’s an example to back up this thought. At the end of each section is a kind of checklist affair. The one on toilets, an area which we thought was going to be very firmly regulated, reads like this (slight paraphrasing to ensure you stay awake):
Using signs and posters to encourage hand washing and sneezing etiquette
Consider using floor markings for social distancing in areas where queues normally form and adopt a one in, one out policy (where it doesn’t create an additional bottleneck)
Consider making hand sanitiser available at the entrance to toilets and make sure you have facilities to wash and dry hands when people are finished
Set up clear use and cleaning guidance for your toilets and consider disposable cloths or paper towels when cleaning
Keep facilities well ventilated, for example fixing doors open when appropriate
Special care taken for portable or large block toilets
Put up a visible cleaning schedule and keep it up to date and visible
Provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection
That is a whole lot of ‘consider’ for a guidelines document and not a lot else. It breaks down to: hope your customers wash their hands, clean the bogs regularly and put up some posters. These are, let us not forget, the government guidelines to keep workers and customers safe!! Fucks sake.
To be fair there are some useful points in there which people wanted clarifying. For example on the collection of data from people the guideline is to keep peoples information for at least 21 days and they are working on a system and will set out details shortly (better be fucking shortly you’ve got 10 days thanks to your own bumbling uselessness).
There is also info on regulators checking in on venues and how staff can report their employer if they are doing bad things (thanks for relying on the staff because they are really going to want to get their employer shut down so they lose their job, way to pass the buck you feckless morons). There is also information on Risk Assessment which you must carry out and not only share details of with your employees (and they are encouraging you to publish it on your website too, presumably to give customers confidence which sounds like a good idea to us) but also put up a poster in the venue saying you have done so.
One area that is missing is that all venues must provide table service. This is apparently because when it was announced by Gigantic Fuck Hole yesterday in parliament it was entirely made up. It was to do with delivering food and drinks to tables but ordering at the bar is actually fine. You couldn’t make it up, unless you were called Cummings.
The full guidance document can be found here but it is so loose and so ambiguous that it really does, to us, look like a total set up. We can only hope that the industry does the right thing and errs on the side of caution when setting up their own venues guidelines. We need to be strict and ensure that the second spike doesn’t force us to shut back down again because if that happens….. well the government can’t blame what is no longer there.