Hospitality Webinar FAQ's

Are we allowed to request a visit from the Protective Services team for ourselves and for our customer’s peace of mind to give us any relevant advice?
Due to the number of premises resuming operations, it will unfortunately not be possible to arrange appointments for visits. Unlike the resumption of trade after local restrictions in August, there is no requirement to have been assessed ahead of re-opening. Officers will be undertaking proactive visits to premises, including at evenings and weekends. Officers will also be responding to requests for advice and complaints. You can contact the service via the business restrictions online form for advice.

I’ve blocked off part of my car park and added extra seating for outdoor drinks. Do I need to have the white lines for car parking removed from that area? Do I need the Council to come and check?
There is no requirement to remove the white lines. Unlike the resumption of trade after local restrictions in August, there is no requirement to have been assessed ahead of re-opening. Seating areas will require to facilitate appropriate physical distancing. You can contact the service via the business restrictions online form for advice.

Last time we opened we did not have 1M distancing between tables (social bubble) will this need to be enforced?

The requirement for 1m physical distancing between different households in hospitality is not a new requirement. Businesses will be expected to have appropriate mechanisms in place to facilitate this. There is no current concept of a social bubble. The only exceptions are for a carer.

Can different households share transport to premises and sit together without distancing when sitting at the venue table?
Customers would be expected to follow Scottish Government car sharing advice. Physical distancing is required between all households irrespective of
how they arrive at the premises.

We would like to reconfirm what the rules are for children under 12 at tables. We understand that they do not count in the maximum numbers of 6 from 2 households, but can you please reconfirm if the under 12s still require to be socially distanced from the other household at table? Is it only adults within a group that must stay 1 metre apart at the table? Could a child from my family sit within 1 metre of an adult from another family? For weddings does the 6 per table include children? 

Under 12s do not count towards the total number but do count towards the number of households. Under 12s do not need to maintain physical distancing from other under 12s, but should maintain the physical distancing from 12 year olds and older from other households.

We have used picnic benches, but none are 1 metre wide. I take it for the time being these benches cannot be used?

The requirement is for households to maintain 1 metre distancing rather than for tables to have to be 1 metre wide. Picnic benches less than 1m wide can be used for single households.

Can we confirm in regard to 1m distancing of household. Does this apply outside as well as inside?
Yes. 1m distancing between households applies both inside and outside.

For guest distancing at tables, is that here to stay or will restrictions ease as the protection level goes down to 0?
Scottish Government have not published advice regarding this at present.

The Capacity calculation states that you require a circle of 1.5m but the formula says it is based on 1.8m, can you advise which is correct?
The Scottish Government capacity guidance relates to calculating the overall capacity of the premises not the physical distancing requirements between households. It is currently in draft form and is subject to amendment.

Can you clarify if the distance between each table must be 1.5m in all directions? 
The requirement is to maintain at least 1m between households, not tables. This means tables need to be sufficiently far apart to facilitate this and permit circulation areas. 

Back-to-back booths - can they still be okay for seating customers or should the 1.5m distance be observed.

Back-to-back booths are permitted but must either the back of the seats must be above head height or physical screen require to be installed.

In our premises customers can sit at tables and have a meal adjacent to people who have just came in for an alcoholic drink. Does this mean that they have to sit 2 metres apart rather than 1 metre? Or do I have to demarcate my premises?

Alcohol cannot be served indoors until 17th May. Physical distancing of 1m between all households must be maintained irrespective if customers are eating or drinking alcohol (outdoors).

As a golf club our members play in four ball. Can they sit in their teams inside for lunch or have to comply to the 2 at table with 1 m rule?

If the 4 players are from more than 2 households, then they would need to sit at two separate tables.

Do queue areas like carvery queue require 1m or 2m distance?

Carveries and buffets are not currently permitted to operate on the basis of customers attending the carvery to select the food (whether served or self service), as operations are limited to table service only. Queues should be avoided wherever possible. Where unavoidable e.g. toilets, queues within hospitality areas, whether indoors or outside must be kept short, well managed and at 1m spacing at least. Queues outside of the premises must be at 2 metre distancing.

We are still going to operate as a take-away only, are we allowed to have people in the premises to order?

Yes. From 26th April, customers can access the premises to order and collect takeaway food and drink. Face coverings are required to be worn by these customers.

The two-hour timeslot has been mentioned as guidance and not legislation, will premises be expected to implement this. Will enforcement action be taken?

This measure is in guidance rather than regulation. It is expected that operators will arrange their own systems to ensure dwell times indoors are managed. This is to help facilitate rotation of sittings and limit the time people are spending in enclosed spaces whilst the country remains in a relative level of risk and will be temporary to Level 2 only (17th May). Most food services premises will already be accustomed to regular turnover of tables to facilitate rotation of sittings. For drink only services customers should be advised at time of booking/checking-in of the expected dwell time and systems should be in place to ensure customer awareness and cooperation with the measure. As this measure is in guidance and not regulation, it will not result in formal enforcement action.

Is sport going to be allowed to be shown? This was obviously a cause for concern summer last year.

Unless specifically prohibited through the use of formal enforcement action, or conditions applied to the licence, televised sports can be screened. Similarly to background music, the volume would need to be kept low so that customer and staff do not need to raise their voices or encroach within the 1m distancing. Scottish Government have published guidance on setting the appropriate volume . Risk assessments must be undertaken for any high profile broadcast that may have the potential to increase the risk of crowding and breaking down of physical distancing protocols. For example, a live sports broadcast must not be planned and/or promoted as an event to draw in customers for the sole purpose of watching it on TV. Experience shows this is high risk in the current context and should be avoided at the outset. 

Can bandits be played by guests?

Gaming machines, pool, darts, bingo, dominos etc is not currently permitted within hospitality premises. Scottish Government have provisionally indicated that these activities can resume as per the timetable below:

  • Gaming Machines – levels 0, 1 and 2 – from 17th May
  • Bingo – levels 0, 1 and 2 – from 17th May
  • Pool and snooker tables – levels 0 and 1 – from 7th June
  • Darts – levels 0 and 1 - from 7th June
  • Dominoes – not allowed at present because the activity is too high a risk due to the sharing of game pieces and the proximity of players

When will kitchen inspections resume? After being closed for such a long time my concern is kitchen standards in all premise is up to standard. 

Intelligence-driven interventions of food business establishments are still being undertaken, where intelligence suggests fraudulent activity or risk to public health, e.g. consumer complaints, credible allegations of food poisoning, pest infestations etc.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) acknowledges that any ‘start date’ for Local Authority Intervention Programmes should be in line with relaxations against COVID19 restrictions according to the Scottish Government’s Route Map and
to the extent that allows food business activity to resume.

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict with certainty at this time. When food establishments will be permitted to trade in a manner close to ‘normal’. It is also possible that the easement of restrictions on trading will be on a Local Authority rather than a national basis. The former scenario could see some Local Authorities able to recommence programmed interventions while others are still experiencing trading restrictions – as well as infection suppression measures which might preclude on-site assessment of businesses.

In the light of this continuing uncertainty, FSS has opted to set a nominal ‘restart date’ of 1 September 2021. It is averred that current epidemiological trends as well as Government and scientific projections provide a reasonable level of confidence that ‘conventional’ food law interventions will be feasible by that time. However, it is acknowledged that Local Authorities might, on either an individual or national basis, be able to recommence interventions before this date. If this were to be the case, there would be no obstacle to bring interventions forward.

Does it have to be table service only?

The focus should be on the seated/table area for the managing the ordering, consumption, and payment process. Where for practical reasons, it is not possible to take payment at the table i.e., no terminal signal for card payments, then it is possible for the person paying the bill to go to the designated payment point, wearing a face covering when not seated and observing physical distancing.

If a door staff member is medically exempt from wearing a face covering, are they still able to work and come into close contact with a customer if circumstances require?

Door staff working indoors must wear a face covering. Door staff working outside do not need to wear a face covering. However, door staff not wearing face coverings must maintain physical distancing from other (outdoors this is 2m). Exempt staff should be redeployed into roles that do not require close contact with others.

What is a 'Life Event' for numbers and restrictions?

It relates to a funeral, wedding or civil marriage ceremony. These are limited to a maximum of 50. 

I thought Self Catering opened on Monday 26th April not May and Guest Houses open in 17th May not Monday as they can accommodate more than one household. I think previous slide was incorrect. 

Self-catering accommodation for single households can resume operation on Monday 26th. For multiple households, it cannot resume until 17th May. Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs can also resume tourist accommodation on 26th April.

As per previous tier levels rules, can hotel residents still dine and be in the restaurant until 22.00 even though the public need to be off site by 20.00 until 17th May?

Hotel residents can dine within dining rooms until 10pm. However, no alcohol can be served or consumed in public indoor areas.

Can hotels serve alcohol by room service even if no food being served?

Alcohol can be served to residents by room service.

What is the requirement for fresh air ventilation?

Adequate and good quality ventilation should be standard in indoor spaces. Keeping doors and windows open can facilitate improved ventilation. Where screens are used to reduce physical distancing, further enhanced ventilation is likely to be required. HSE ventilation guidance has been published.

Can you keep the fire exits open at all times to help with ventilation?

No. Fire doors should remain closed for fire safety reasons.

For clarification, can alcohol be served until 10pm outdoors as long as the premises are empty & closed by 10.15pm?

Alcohol can be served in licensed outdoor areas in accordance with the conditions of your licence.

What time do we have to close by?

Indoor hospitality has to close by 8pm. All customers are required to have left the premises by this time. alcohol can be served in licensed outdoor areas in accordance with the conditions of your licence

Should we record details for children within groups or just parents?

The regulations have not yet been published, and we are therefore currently
unable to advise.

Can we advise, collection of all data of customers is strongly recommended or actual regulation as just stated?

Collection of customer details in hospitality is currently a regulatory requirement. However, the new regulations have not yet been published, and we are therefore currently unable to advise.

How do you collect six individuals details and record this in a simple way?

The use of a digital or app based such as the “CHECK IN SCOTLAND” system can facilitate rapid collection of customer details.

With us being a members only club do we still have to record their telephone numbers as they are all on our system?

The current regulations require a telephone number to be collected for each visitor. If you have the information quickly available, then it may be appropriate to not repeat collection of this information. Full details of guests of members will require to be collected.

Are there procedures available to follow if staff and or customers report having covid following being on our premises?

We would ask that you complete a thorough clean of the area if this has not already been completed as part of your enhanced cleaning schedules.

All positive cases of COVID 19 will be followed up by Test and Protect. If a staff member or customer has been in your premises during their infectious period then you may be contacted by Test and Protect to help us gather the relevant information we need to make a risk assessment and to follow up contacts. We ask that you support us in this process so we can try to reduce potential spread of COVID 19 in the community. If you need to contact Grampian Test and Protect Team then you can do so by calling 01224 558781.

Information and resources for both employers and employees regarding issues such as what support is available during isolation and what to do if you have a number of staff test positive is available on NHS Grampian’s website: Information for Employers (

It also contains information leaflets that have been translated into a range of different languages.

Could we clarify why some businesses can have outside areas against their business gaining additional area but other businesses are not allowed to do the same thing?

Fundamentally it comes down to location – for some premises temporary outdoor seating will simply not be logistically possible. The cross service outdoor seating group does however endeavour to work with businesses to see what opportunities may be available, and we would recommend that any interested premises contact to discuss what may be possible.

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