Guidance for hospitality businesses on restriction easing from 17 May 2021

Following the move to Step 3 in the government's roadmap, hospitality venues are allowed to open for indoor as well as outdoor services. 

You must ensure that you can comply with covid-secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission and completing a COVID risk assessment.

Hospitality venues can provide:

  • indoor service for tables of a maximum of six people or people from two households
  • outdoor service for groups of up to 30 people 

On this page:

Food and drink

In businesses where alcohol is provided, the food and drink, must be ordered by customers who are seated either indoors and outdoors. 

You should take reasonable steps to ensure customers remain seated whilst consuming food and drink.


Social distancing

Where screens are used between customers from different groups, the distance between people can be reduced to 1 metre if the screen is substantial and provides good separation lengthways and above head height.

Back-to-back seating should be separated by at least 1 metre to ensure groups are socially distanced. There should be 2 metres between groups seated side-by-side. 

You should encourage social distancing for customers as they queue to enter and leave the premises, and to use the toilets. Floor markings, one-way systems and good signage should be in place.


NHS Test and Trace

You must display an NHS QR poster/s at your business, these should be located in an easily accessible position for customers to record their details. You are advised to display a number of posters around your venue, preferably one at each table.

Where customers do not have a smartphone, you must provide another means for their details to be recorded.

You must now ask every customer, unless under the age of 16 or otherwise exempt to provide their name and contact details, either for you to log or by scanning the QR code using the app.  It is no longer acceptable to collect one persons contact details from a group of customers. 

You can find further guidance about NHS Test and Trace in the workplace on GOV.UK.


Pavement licences

The government has introduced a simplified pavement licence to allow premises to place tables and chairs outside on the pavement. This has been introduced to support hospitality businesses to operate safely with social distancing.

There is no cost for this type of licence in the New Forest.

For more information and to apply, visit our temporary pavement licences page.



For the purposes of the regulations, an indoor space is defined in the same way as in the Smoke-free Premises and Enforcement Regulations 2006 which can be found on

A fully closed marquee can be used to comply with the law. The outdoor structure (with a roof/ceiling) must have open walls and the opening must be greater than 50% of the area of the total wall space.  Doors and windows cannot be classed as gaps in the wall area.


Fire safety

You must complete a fire risk assessment for your venue and any additional structures. 

The risk assessment needs to identify the fire hazards and people at risk. You must try to remove or reduce these risks to protect people from fire. 

Information to help manage the safe erection, use and deconstruction of temporary demountable structures can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.


Use of outdoor space

Consideration to noise levels should be given to minimise disturbance to nearby neighbours. 

This may include: 

  • considering the best location for customers to be to avoid disturbance
  • providing signs reminding customers to be considerate of noise levels
  • asking customers to leave if they are especially noisy
  • monitoring noise levels from the boundary of the nearest residential property
  • letting nearby residents know how to get in contact if they are disturbed by the noise
  • emptying bottle bins the following day rather than at the end of the shift
  • limiting the hours of opening. 

Ensure all of your staff know the rules about noise management and are actively enforcing them.


Entertainment and Events

At Step 3 and no earlier than 17 May, more types of socially distanced indoor and outdoor events are allowed. Some types of events, including live performance events and business events, should be ticketed and attendance should be capped to:

  • 1,000 people or 50% of a venue's capacity, whichever is lower, for indoor events
  • 4,000 people or 50% of a venue's capacity, whichever is lower, for outdoor events

If you're considering providing entertainment, such as live music or a comedy act, at your premises, please email the Licensing Team so we can advise how this can take place safely and legally:


Temporary Event Notices (TENs)

You'll need a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) if you're holding an event with licensable activities, such as:

  • sale or supply of alcohol
  • provision of late night refreshment, which is hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am
  • regulated entertainment, for example music, singing, or dancing, unless incidental or exempt.

TENs must be submitted no less than 10 working days before the event.

For more information about TENs, including how to apply, visit our Temporary Event Notices page.


Legionnaires' disease

There is an increased risk of waterborne pathogens, such as Legionella bacteria being present in water systems when buildings reopen after lockdown. 

As a result of the pandemic, there's the potential for people to be more susceptible to Legionnaires' disease if they have had COVID-19 due to its affect on the respiratory system.

Guidance on ensuring your water system is safe can be found on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health website.



There has been some confusion about which suitable disinfectants will kill COVID-19 germs.

In many cases, although the product being used is suitable, the instructions for use are not being followed so the product is ineffective.

The Winchester City Council website has further information about products suitable for killing the COVID-19 virus and advice on how to use them correctly.


Further guidance

Additional guidance and resources can be found on the following external websites:

Contact us

If you have any questions about opening your business under the current COVID-19 restrictions you can contact us. 


Phone: 02380 285411

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email


Print this page