On the 22nd February 2021, our prime minister outlined what the road ahead might look like as we lift restrictions from the nation’s third UK lockdown. For many of us, it gave a glimmer of hope as we now have something to look forward to while we enter the summer months. However, The UK’s restaurant industry has already been massively affected by multiple lockdowns over the last year, with some saying it has caused their business to permanently close down. So for a lot of business owners in hospitality right now, many will be feeling apprehensive and pressure to make this spring/summer season a success. With the prospect that the months ahead could be make or break, what does this mean for reopening your restaurant after lockdown? We have included some useful resources and advice which we think might help when planning to reopen.
1.) Is Government Funding Available?
Rishi Sunak is due to announce the 2021 budget this week and it has been speculated that this will include a £5bn grant scheme which will be available for business owners within hospitality. It is said that the so called “restart” grants will be available per premises and to a wide variety of businesses. Full details will be included in the budget announcement later this week, but we recommend you check out BBC Business for further updates.
2.) Reopen Your Business: The Lockdown Roadmap
Boris Johnson mentioned numerous times that the roadmap dates could be subject to change if things do not go to plan. With this in mind, the tentative dates business owners are working to are follows: UK’s restaurants will be able to reopen under ‘Step 2’ from 12th April at the earliest, but only for outdoor meals initially. Pubs and bars will be able to open outdoors too and this time no 10pm curfew has been specified. ‘Step 3’, from 17th May at the earliest, will allow for restaurants to open indoors again, subject to social-distancing rules. So will pubs, hotels, bars and other hospitality venues.
Given these dates could change at any point we would recommend looking at what jobs can be done while your business is closed and which can best prepare you to rapidly reopen your business even at short notice.
3.) Furloughed Staff Can Still Train!
We all know how time consuming training staff can be. And, given how precious time will be during trading hours once lockdown is lifted, you will not want to compromise your staff’s time to training when it can be spent with customers and generating revenue. Nothing should delay you from reopening your restaurant after lockdown. Should you have any of your team on furlough, then perhaps now is a good time for them to complete any compliant training they need to fulfil their job safely when returning to work.
The government advice is as follows: Furloughed employees can engage in training during hours which the employee is recorded as being on furlough, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Please see Gov.UK for the full information regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Food Safety Training
Buddy offers a wide range of courses in Food Safety and Health & Safety, all of which can be completed remotely. We would advise checking to see what members of your staff might require a top-up in their food safety Level 2 or 3. It is strongly recommended that anyone working with or in contact with food requires training in food safety every three years. For more details click here!
Covid-19 Secure Training
We also offer a Covid-19 Secure short online course which is suitable for anyone in the business who is customer facing. It aims to teach the science behind social distancing and how to best protect against spreading the virus when working. See here for more details, click here!
4.) Risk Assessment
Legally, all employers have a duty to protect employees from harm, and this includes taking steps to protect employees and others from coronavirus. With restrictions ever changing, we would recommend completing a new Risk Assessment at each phase of the lockdown roadmap to ensure you have thought of what risks you can avoid and mitigate. While it is great restrictions will ease it could leave your business more exposed to risk and possible harm for your team and customers.
5.) Listen to Your Team
Be mindful to reassess the Covid-secure measures you will have already put in place in 2020 and follow up to date government advice when devising a cleaning rota and organising PPE for your staff. It’s always better to be overly precautious in these scenarios when thinking about reopening your restaurant after lockdown. However, we would also advise to think back to when you last reopened… Did some Covid-secure measures work better than others? We would recommend listening to your team about the day to day running’s of the business. In particular ask for feedback about the PPE and cleaning rota. They might suggest new procedures which work better for the business and are equally more effective.
6.) Remain Positive
It’s probably much easier said than done when thinking about all of the things involved in reopening your restaurant after lockdown, we get that! But the road ahead has promise which is great news for the industry and the customers of your business. It is so important to note that hospitality venues are among the most precariously placed to weather the ups and downs of lockdown’s vicissitudes. We can only hope that as a nation we make a collective effort so we can follow the path ahead ensuring it is a one-way road back for the UK’s fantastic restaurant industry. If you want advice on training your team, or regarding reopening safely please get in touch with a member of our account management team today