Information for hospitality premises

Covid-19 regulations   

Throughout the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across Aberdeen City.    

The council has enforcement powers under legislation which has been made to introduce new temporary restrictions to help reduce the spread of the virus.    

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 came into force on Monday 2 November 2020.  

Latest Information 

Vaccine certificates in Scotland 

COVID vaccine certificates are now needed to get into the following higher risk settings in Scotland: 

  • Late night premises with music, which serve alcohol at any time between midnight and 5am and have a designated place for dancing for customers 
  • Indoor events (unseated) with 500 or more people 
  • Outdoor events (unseated) with 4,000 or more people 
  • Any event with more than 10,000 people 

Everyone attending these settings and events must show they have been fully vaccinated to gain entry. 

Some people will be able to show their vaccination status on the NHS Scotland Covid Status app, others may have a paper record of their vaccine status. 

Venues can download the NHS Scotland Covid Check app available on Apple and Android devises and it is able to read the QR codes on devices of customers to check their vaccination status.

To find more information on which events and premises must check vaccine certificates and exemptions please see the latest advice from the Scottish Government.

The Regulations require the person responsible for the venue to implement a reasonable and appropriate system for checking that persons on, or seeking to enter, the premises are permitted to be there under the Regulations. The system must also include a method for removing from, or refusing access to, anyone identified as not being permitted to be there in accordance with the Regulations.  

The Regulations also require that, from 18 October 2021, the person responsible must have in place a compliance plan which details the required system as well as any other measures in place to prevent or minimise the risk of coronavirus spreading on the premises. This plan must be presented to a relevant person (which could be a constable or designated local authority officer) upon request. 

Current Restrictions

In Aberdeen and throughout Scotland most of the major COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. However, some requirements will continue, including: 

  • Face coverings are still required on public transport and inside public places including shops, pubs and restaurants. In hospitality settings face coverings can be removed while dancing and when drinking or dining (whether seated or standing). 

  • Indoor hospitality venues must continue to collect customer contact details. 

  • Travel restrictions such as the red, green and amber system for international travel, will continue. This will be updated as and when necessary, to restrict the spread of outbreaks and protect against the risk of importation of new variants. 

  • People will continue to be advised to continue to work from home where possible. 

  • Organisers of large events must continue to use the gateway system and apply for permission from their local authority if they wish to have outdoors events of more than 5000 and indoor events of more than 2000. 

For more information on these changes see the latest information from the Scottish Government

Please follow the latest sector guidance for Tourism and Hospitality. 

The guidance is for use by the following sectors:

  • all accommodation providers (hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan/holiday parks etc.) 
  • visitor attractions 
  • marine and adventure tourism 
  • other activity or experience tourism operations/centres 
  • tour operators 
  • pubs, cafes, restaurants and general hospitality 
  • retail aspects of tourism 
  • natural spaces insofar as they relate to tourism, such as the National Parks 
  • funfairs and amusement parks (static and mobile) 
  • licensed bingo clubs 
  • casinos 
  • guided walking tours 

If you want advice and information about the current restrictions or the timeline for the re-opening of the economy, please contact the Protective Services Team using our online form. 

Business support  

View our business support page for information regarding government grants and funding for your business.

“Check in Scotland” – Collecting customer details 

Regulations make it mandatory for restaurants, cafes, hotels, pubs and bars to collect and retain details of the contact details of people who visit.  

One way of making sure you collect people's details is by displaying a Check in Scotland QR code poster at your venue and asking anyone who visits to scan this QR code when they arrive.  

If you already have a way of taking the details of people who visit your business or venue, such as your own QR code method, you can carry on using this method instead of switching to a Check in Scotland QR code poster. But, as Check in Scotland is designed to work with Scotland's Test and Protect system, the Scottish Government would encourage you to look at switching, if you can.  

View the Scottish Government information regarding “Check in Scotland” and learn how to create your QR code poster.    

The Scottish Government strongly recommend that settings collect the details of all visitors to premises and not just the lead adult of a household. If premises offer a mixture of an on-site and collection service, contact information only needs to be collected for customers who remain on-site.

View the latest Scottish Government guidance regarding the collection of customer details


Social media 

For the latest news from Aberdeen Trading Standards visit the  Trading Standards Twitter  page. 

Re-opening business and workplaces after the closure period  

The Scottish Government have published a range of guidance for businesses and employers via Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance. This guidance is regularly updated.   

HSE have also published guidance on keeping workplaces safe as coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are eased, please visit the  HSE website for more information.

It's important to carry out COVID-19 specific risk assessments and review your existing risk assessments, putting into place control measures to keep people safe. What we know about the spread of coronavirus, and the rules you must follow, have changed 

For more information on how to undertake a risk assessment go to the Covid-19 HSE Risk Assessment webpage which include a template  Risk Assessment

Below is some helpful information to help you carry out this process. If you are unsure or need advice, please contact us. 

You will need to: 

  • Remember fresh air: the risk from aerosol spread of coronavirus is now known to be very important. This means that improving ventilation as much as possible is the most effective control measure in your workplace. For more guidance on ventilation, see ventilation and air conditioning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Consider how many people will you actually "fit" back into the workplace with social distancing measures in place. 
  • Remove or restrict the use of use some desks, workstations, chairs, tables, equipment throughout the workplace (including canteens, service areas, offices, stockrooms, public areas, communal areas, external areas etc.) and stop hot-desking to enable people to maintain social distancing. 
  • Decide when it will be safe to open - have contractors visit first to carry out any essential or necessary works, maintenance and testing. Ensure contractors are safe when working in your premises - both contractor and businesses must work together to communicate any concerns and control measures to each other. 
  • Involve employees and union representatives in your decision-making and risk assessments reviews. 

Plan for how you long you will need to maintain social distancing (it could be required for a long time);

  • Consider what hygiene controls must be in place (including maintaining additional hand washing, additional cleaning and disinfecting especially of touch points, shared equipment, barriers between employees and public etc.). 
  • Carry out thorough cleaning and disinfection of the premises and equipment with appropriate cleaning chemicals.
  • Consider a phased return to the building whilst Covid19 continues and consider what will happen later when Covid19 controls end.
  • Identify which roles and activities won't go ahead due to the ongoing restrictions (e.g. due to the risk of infection, restrictions on travel etc) and what impact that will have on your business. 
  • Plan for and identify how people will physically access the building if there are still social distancing restrictions in place. 
  • Will you need one door in and one door out? Can you make entrance doors automatic, so they don't have to be touched? 
  • Will it take longer for people to get into and out of the building if the 2-metre rule is still in place? 
  • If you are permitting members of the public to enter your building, what extra measures are you going to put in place? For example, Perspex screens at reception, contactless card readers, sanitiser hand stations. 
  • Try to discourage members of the public from visiting your workplace. Only accept members of the public, or clients if there is no alternative and ask them to make appointments. 'Walk-in's' will only encourage queuing, which creates additional challenges. 

Legionella Risk 

  • Legionella risk assessments should be reviewed to reflect buildings being closed or having reduced occupancy levels during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health have provided guidance on  Legionnaire's Disease Lockdown Risk and Reopening Safely booklet
  • Hot and cold water outlets may now be infrequently used and will require flushing on a weekly basis to prevent water stagnation. If weekly flushing cannot be undertaken, then duty holders should liaise with whoever provides their competent advice to ensure systems are cleaned (if required) and disinfected before building reoccupation. This is especially important for duty holders that have showers such as hotels or leisure centres as showers can be a potential source of Legionella. 
  • Where spa pools or hot tubs remain in use, then existing control regimes must be maintained. Where systems are not in use, they will need to be drained, cleaned and disinfected. Prior to reinstatement, they will also need to be cleaned and disinfected 
  • Where operation of  Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers is still necessary, then these must be maintained and operated safely at all times to avoid increased Legionella risks. During the COVID 19 emergency, it is important that employers have reviewed operations and planned for the necessary measures and resources to ensure safe systems of work are continued. This will include the availability of adequately trained personnel to carry out essential checks and monitoring, as well as ensuring chemical supplies are maintained and dosed appropriately. 
  • Operators should liaise with their water treatment companies for assistance and if it is necessary to cease operation of any systems. If cooling towers and evaporative condensers are likely to be out of operation for: 
    • Up to a month – fans should be isolated, but biocidal-treated water should be circulated around the system for at least an hour on a weekly basis, or 
    • More than a month – systems should be drained down, cleaned and disinfected before being refilled and returned to operation.

 Drinking water 

  • You need to consider drinking fountains, water coolers and other drinking water outlets where the spread of COVID-19 may occur. 
  • You may want to remove drinking fountains as they pose a high risk of cross-infection as employees may touch them with their mouths, and coolers require a glass to be pushed against a lever which will also be likely to spread infection. 
  • Ensure that you use water outlets that have sufficient room to enable staff to get a cup/glass easily under the tap to enable them to fill their cup/glass properly, without touching the tap spout or nozzle.  
  • Removal of drinking fountains or coolers may lead to a shortage in drinking water points. 

Employers have a duty to provide clean drinking water in the workplace for all staff, therefore alternative arrangements may need to be considered such as purchasing bottled water. 

  • Identify all equipment and installations that may have missed their planned preventative maintenance, inspection, test or thorough examination - ensure they are maintained/tested/inspected/examined by a competent person before being put back into use (examples include pressure systems, lifts and lifting equipment, gas installations and equipment, electrical equipment and installations, extraction systems, ventilation systems, vehicles, manual handling equipment, metal detecting equipment, guarding, security equipment etc) 
  • Think about the use of lifts whilst maintaining social distancing - you may need to restrict the number of people allowed in the lift at any one time, which will mean it could take longer for people to reach their workstation. 
  • If you restrict the number of people using the lifts, that may lead to increased use of staircases, you may also need to control the number of people using the staircases at any one time - plan for any extra time it may take and consider introducing staggered start, finish and break times to reduce the numbers in those areas.
  • Think about busy communal doorways, can they be propped open safely without interfering with fire precautions or making employees work in a draft? Can doors be retro fitted with automatic door openers? 
  • Understand how people will feel about going back into the workplace, people may have lost confidence in their ability to do the jobs they haven't done for a while, they may be worried about mixing with other people - a planned phased return could help 
  • Some people may require refresher training or retraining to carry out their roles safely, competently and effectively - be understanding of this and provide any necessary support. 
  • People will need information, instruction and training on any changes in activities, any risks and new controls you have put in place, as well as training in your COVID-19 control measures 
  • Stagger shifts and break times to reduce the amount of people present at any one time 
  • Rotate days in office and work from home days to reduce amount of people in the building 
  • Ensure that your work related stress policy is up to date. Line managers should be given refresher training on how to help employees and employers should ensure that information to help employees find help is freely available. 
  • Remember that some employees may have been very unwell or be grieving for loved ones following the pandemic.

For information regarding the wearing of face coverings in the workplace view the guidance from the Scottish Government

Indoors / outdoors - The definition of indoors means a place which would be, wholly or substantially enclosed for the purposes of section 4(2) of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (a) under the Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (b), and “outdoors” is to be constructed accordingly. 

What’s the criteria for defining an outdoor structure from an indoors space? It is understood that in the current context some premises may wish to move some operations outdoors in-order to optimise trading opportunities where this is permitted. This however must be done in accordance with the rules for what constitutes an outdoor space/structure. The intention of an outdoor covering is to provide basic shelter from the elements and not to replicate the conditions for indoors. The structure should be at least 1.5 metres away from any other buildings or walls to allow adequate ventilation. It should also be at least 50% open i.e., not all sides enclosed. Domes or fully enclosed structures for example would be classed as Indoor Space. 

If you wish to provide heating in a temporary structure or the outside hospitality area of your premises, then you must have fully considered all the Health and Safety Implications. We have produced an information leaflet which explains these considerations.    


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