Face coverings now mandatory for front of house staff

Venues ‘should not accept bookings from groups clearly exceeding the limit’, Scottish Government says

FRONT of house staff in pubs, restaurants and hotels must wear face coverings from today (September 14) and venues should only accept bookings from groups adhering to the ‘six people from two households’ rule, under new Scottish Government coronavirus restrictions.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last Thursday that from today the maximum number of people who can gather indoors and outdoors, including hospitality venues, is six from two households, with children under 12 from within the two households not counting towards the limit. She confirmed that the limit permitted for wakes and receptions will rise to 20 people from today, “as long as they take place in regulated venues like hotels with strict guidance in place”.

Sturgeon also said that, from today, face coverings must be worn by front of house staff in bars, restaurants and hotels, and by customers when moving around premises, such as entering or exiting a venue or going to the toilet.

To coincide with the measures, outlined in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, coming in to force today, the Scottish Government has  added a new ‘frequently asked questions’ section to the updated guidance for the hospitality sector, which states that businesses should ensure booking systems are arranged to only accept bookings from groups adhering to the ‘six people from two households’ rule. “A simple step is to ensure staff who are taking calls for bookings are asking the right questions, including – is everyone from not more than two households? Are there any children under 12 from the same two households as these do not count towards the six?” says the guidance.

“Businesses should not accept bookings from groups that are clearly exceeding the limit.”

On the wearing of face coverings, the document states that “only public-facing, front of house staff are required to wear face coverings. There is an exemption for staff who are more than two metres away from the public or are behind a suitable screen, so this covers the likes of kitchen staff and back of house roles.”

And it states that customers should wear face coverings when entering and exiting a venue or moving around it to go to the toilets.

On what to do if customers are not complying with the rules, the guidance states that “the responsibility is, in the first instance, on the individual to follow the rules. You should offer advice to customers to follow the rules and use the available resources from government to display key messages for hospitality on the premises.

“If non-compliance is deliberate and persistent you may wish to refuse service. Everyone is expected to play their part to ensure risk is kept to a minimum and help keep businesses open.”

See the Scottish Government’s FAQs here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/pages/frequently-asked-questions-faqs/