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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Guidance is the key for leisure industry reopening, says Napthens expert

A Lancashire leisure expert has welcomed the latest government announcement that the country’s leisure sector can reopen on July 4 – but with a cautious message to licensees and business owners.

Malcolm Ireland, head of leisure at north west regional law firm Napthens, says the government’s latest announcement means planning can finally take place towards reopening the leisure sector. However, adhering to the new guidelines will be key to restoring trust in customers.

Applying the new guidance safely will regain trust and help businesses return to growth, he said.

He says: “Reducing the social distancing limit to one metre plus will be welcomed by all pubs and owners in the leisure industry as a more manageable way of reopening businesses. However, we know that large parts of the public are still wary about the lifting of restrictions.

“Since the measures will take the form of guidance rather than regulation, there will be a temptation for some operators to stop short of full compliance. However, adhering to the guidelines will help to instil more confidence in customers that popping to the pub or booking a table at a restaurant is safe.

“For many pubs, that will require a rethink of how the business operates, whether through an ordering app, rearranging the premises, retraining bar staff as waiters and legally collecting data and understanding how to process it in line with GDPR regulations.

“Adhering to all of the guidelines is a tough ask for pubs and restaurants, particularly with less than a fortnight before they reopen, but sticking to them will help regain customer confidence in the long term.”

From Saturday, July 4, pubs, along with restaurants, hotels and some leisure attractions will be allowed to reopen to the public but will be asked to follow a range of safety measures to reduce the chance of customers spreading Covid-19.

Measures suggested include avoiding face-to-face seating where possible, offering table service only, and advising at least one metre of social distancing between customers. Premises will also be asked to record contact information from all customers who enter the premises.

Napthens has been offering advice to navigate the coronavirus pandemic with a specially assembled team, offering advice on employment, health and safety, signposting for funding solutions and business support.

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