The Finer Details Of The New Restrictions – Your FAQ’s

Vague is not a word that we need to hear right now but as usual that is what we have got, we try to get to the bottom of some of the questions we have seen flying around.

Since the announcements yesterday about the new restrictions for the hospitality industry across the UK we saw a lot of understandable anger, followed by an equally understandable flood of questions as once again no specific details were given.

It is important to note that unless we specifically say otherwise these are laws not, as was often previously the case, guidelines. It is also worth noting that each of the UK’s four countries has its own rules and at the end we will list which apply to which country so not all of these areas will necessarily apply to your venue. These are all relevant for England.

Some of the information is yet to be released but seeing as this kicks off in England and Wales tomorrow and Scotland on Friday we thought we should get what info we have out there asap. So first up is – 10pm closing:

10pm Closing Means?

Every single member of the public out of your venue by 10pm at the latest. When you serve your last drink is up to you, in the UK there is no law on drinking-up time, with the exception of Scotland which is legally at least 15 mins before closing. So you can do what you want but everyone must be out (apart from staff) by 10pm and not reopen until 5am. No exceptions, no what ifs, 10pm everyone out or fines coming your way of up to £10,000. Or as they put it:

‘Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).’

Next up masks:

For Your Customers

Simply put if your customers aren’t sat at a table they have to be wearing a mask (due to table service now being mandatory everyone will have to be at a table – it is worth noting that at some points the government guidelines say ‘seated’ and at some points ‘served’ so the world of poser tables is unclear). So when they enter your venue, leave your venue or even get up to visit the bathroom (amazingly this Boris Johnson toilet paper is still in stock btw) they will have to wear a mask. According to the actual wording customers must replace their masks as soon as they have finished eating or drinking, but seeing as the government also advise against constantly putting on and taking off your mask we can only assume they don’t mean after each sip.

Also with regards to people coming into your venue without a mask on who claim it is for health reasons, it is their call to be honest on this and you have no legal right to insist they show you evidence and they do not have to carry it, according to the government:

‘Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this, this includes exemption cards. No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering.’

For You/Your Staff

Now then here we go, all hospitality staff (and this includes hotel staff in public areas) will be required to ‘wear face coverings’ from September 24th. Now there are lots of questions about people working back of house, in kitchens etc where they don’t come in contact with customers and simply put I’m afraid we don’t have a firm answer.

The rules say ‘hospitality staff to wear a face covering in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public’. However I would suggest better safe than sorry especially if those people are in contact with anything that is then in contact with a customer (we will get more confirmation on this as the rules are updated, as well as what staff members are supposed to do if they are exempt from wearing masks for health reasons and get back to you).

Now the ‘face coverings’ themselves. Are face shields allowed instead? Simply put it appears not. According to the governments own guidance:

‘In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

Face coverings are largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection (COVID-19).’

There are plenty of people out there making more comfortable masks, we have heard good things about the ones from The Drinks Trust and Abstract Jungle but we haven’t worked a shift in either.

What didn’t they tell you:

NHS QR Code Posters

Hidden in amongst the bumble of information was this news. When the new NHS Track & Trace App is rolled out, supposedly on September 24th, if you are in England you ‘will need’ to display an official NHS QR code poster in your venue. This was not mentioned in any detail so will be news to many who have been using their own system. The government have set up a web page which allows you to put in your details and it will then email you over a poster with your unique QR code which you will need to print out and put up, so yes another cost the government are forcing on you.

Some areas are still no clearer than Wetherspoons ice, such as who will be liable for the fines that can be imposed on venues. We will be updating this where we can in the coming 24 hours once more information is squeezed out of the morons.

There is also the issue of how long this is likely to go on for. In England they have said ‘The government’s expectation is the measures described above will need to remain in place until March.’ However in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said they would be reviewing every three weeks, so once again we are left with our bits swinging in the chilly breeze.

As promised below is a country by country breakdown so you know which areas to concentrate on (apologies in advance if I missed anything out but this is constantly moving mess at the moment) and if you have any questions let us know and we will try our best to get answers for you.


  • 10pm closing rule applies (from September 25th not 24th)
  • Rule of six applies with a mixture of two households max indoors and outdoors
  • No longer are people allowed to visit other peoples homes
  • Face covering rules the same


  • 10pm closing rule is only to stop selling booze in your venue, people can finish up at their own pace then leave (also extended to shops selling booze)
  • Face coverings rules the same
  • Rule of six applies

Northern Ireland

  • Will be making an announcement in the coming days, however venues not serving food were only allowed to reopen today

These new regulations do not supersede local lockdowns, check for updates details in each lockdown area for the latest news.