What you need to do to open your hospitality business safely after a period of closure.

Review government guidance

You must read the guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways on GOV.UK.

Risk assessments

Before you re-open, you'll need to do a COVID-19 Secure Risk Assessment to assess the risks of COVID-19 at your business. 

You must:

  • read the government guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars
  • have the risk assessment in writing if you have five or more employees
  • let your employees know the outcome of the risk assessment
  • give special attention to vulnerable employees who could be at greater risk if they get coronavirus

Social distancing

Social distancing is 2 metres, or 1 metre plus with risk mitigation where 2 metres is not possible.

You must maintain social distancing in the workplace as much as possible:

  • between the staff
  • with customers
  • during deliveries or collections
  • with contractors or other visitors

Social distancing applies throughout the business so you'll need to think about all the areas in your premises before you reopen.


Public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be made available to customers, if government guidance is followed.

You'll need to consider:

  • your cleaning procedures 
  • how customers will access the toilets whilst following the social distancing measures 
  • where you provide hand sanitiser 


Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. You can improve ventilation by opening windows and doors (not fire doors) and improving air circulation.


Legionella can infect people who breathe in contaminated water droplets. This can result in a potentially fatal respiratory illness. As your business has been closed you should assess the risk of legionella within your hot and cold water systems. 

Food safety

The Food Standards Agency has a re-opening checklist for food businesses to check that you're prepared for re-opening. 

Health and safety

There will also be health and safety matters to check before re-opening. Health and Safety Executive have a guide to working safely.

Staff hand washing

Make sure your staff know to wash their hands often and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

Hands should be washed:

  • before starting work
  • before and after breaks
  • after cleaning tasks 
  • after being in a public place
  • after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • when they return home


Our enforcement team may visit you in the future to check that you:

  • carried out your risk assessment
  • are following the COVID-19 guidance
  • are operating safely