Covid: Restaurants and pubs have reopened, but what are the rules?

Covid: Restaurants and pubs have reopened, but what are the rules?

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in England can now open for customers seated outdoors.


But what new rules apply and when will venues across the UK fully reopen?

How many people can I meet outside?

Restrictions have changed since pubs were last open. People don't need to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks - and there'll be no 22:00 curfew.

But there are still Covid measures in place:

  • Customers must order, eat and drink while seated at a table
  • You must follow either the rule of six, or be in a a group of any size with no more than two households present
  • Every customer aged 16 and over will have to check in to NHS test and trace, or give contact details to staff
  • When not seated - for example being shown to a table, or going to the toilet - customers should wear face masks (unless exempt) and observe social distancing

How should venues keep people safe?

Although a curfew no longer applies, venues still have to follow the existing rules on opening hours in their licenses.

To stop the spread of Covid, guidance for hospitality says they should:

  • Use social distancing markings
  • Provide disposable sauce sachets
  • Install plastic screens between tables or at tills
  • Encourage contactless payments

At venues serving alcohol, payment should be taken at tables outdoors.

At those not serving alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drinks from a counter but must eat outside.

Venues can put up outdoor shelters, gazebos or marquees. These can have a roof, but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open.

Pubs which show sport can use screens outside for matches, as long as drinkers stay seated and volume is kept low.

Venues must not, however, provide smoking equipment such as shisha pipes.

When can I eat or drink inside?

In England, it is hoped the next set of restrictions can be lifted in mid-May - if coronavirus goals are being met.

  • 17 May: Customers can eat and drink indoors, in groups of up to six people, or two households of any size. Groups seated outside must be smaller than 30 people
  • 21 June: All restrictions could be lifted, with nightclubs allowed to reopen

Will I need a vaccine passport to go to the pub?

There is currently no legal requirement for customers to prove their Covid status.

But, the government says it will be legal for such businesses to ask customers for proof of Covid status if they wish to - as long as they do not break equalities laws.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously suggested pub-goers could be asked to provide a vaccine certificate, after all adults have been offered a first jab by the end of July.