'Freedom Day' guidance urges hospitality to retain restrictions and consider use of Covid-status certification

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

'Freedom Day' guidance urges hospitality to retain restrictions and consider use of Covid-status certification vaccine passports

Related tags: Government, Coronavirus, Vaccine passport

Official guidance published ahead of England's 'Freedom Day' on 19 July urges hospitality businesses to retain most Coronavirus restrictions and consider checking customers' Covid-status certification as a condition of entry.

England is set to move to the final stage of its lockdown roadmap on Monday, with almost all remaining Coronavirus restrictions lifted.

Wearing face coverings will no longer be compulsory; hospitality businesses will no longer be required to collect customer details for track and trace; all remaining restrictions on social contact will be removed; and the requirement for pubs and restaurants to only operate table service is to be scrapped.

However, Government guidance​ published yesterday (14 July) urges hospitality venues to continue asking customers to check in, and recommends the continued use of table service.

They are told to consider asking customers to order through an app from their table; to prefer contactless payments; to discourage self-service of food; and provide only disposable condiments.

Ventilation is also earmarked as a priority, with venues advised to monitor carbon dioxide levels, which are seen as a good proxy for the effectiveness of the ventilation.

The guidance will not be legally binding, but operators are told they must carry out an appropriate risk assessment to decide which actions to take.

In another extension of the rollout of Covid-status certificates (commonly referred to 'vaccine passports'), all hospitality firms are being encouraged to check vaccine and testing status as a condition of entry through the NHS Covid Pass.

It follows reports earlier this week that the Government is considering plans​ to introduce 'vaccine passports' as a requirement for hospitality in the autumn.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, told The Telegraph​ ​the guidance related to Covid-status certification was 'disappointing'.

She said ministers needed to provide a 'whole suite of guidance' to explain how Covid-status certification should work in the sector 'for us to decide whether we are willing to adopt this on a voluntary basis'.

Predicting that few businesses would adopt the measure by Monday, she said: "I don't think anybody would be able to introduce this on a voluntary basis from Monday until we have clarification."

Nicholls added that 'more work is needed by the Government', warning that there were 'real concerns' around equalities legislation, and 'practical issues' around the type of testing that qualifies and how businesses should handle customers' personal health data.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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