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Re-starting your business
guidance for public houses, cafés and restaurants

With ongoing Covid restrictions across the UK your business may have needed to change the way it operates or even been closed for extended periods of time. 
Further to the 10 things to consider when restarting your business, there is specific guidance for owners of pubs, cafés and restaurants.

Specific Covid-19 considerations will very much depend on the range of facilities and activities provided but may include those listed on this page. Our other trade sector guidance may also be relevant to your business, particularly hotels and guest houses, and leisure.
  • Changes to business activities could introduce new hazards or exposures, so review and adapt risk management measures accordingly. This includes working procedures (including  food safety management), training, disinfection and sanitisation, and fire and security protection systems
  • Undertake a thorough inspection of your site, including all buildings (interior and exterior communal areas). Our kitchen fire safety and legionella bacteria pages and equipment checklist may assist you. The HSE has released specific guidance on legionella risks
  • Make regular announcements reminding customers of social distancing and hygiene expectations
  • Install physical barriers / screens at bar areas and between tables. Any such barriers must be subject to appropriate cleaning, disinfection and sanitisation
  • Limit the numbers of people using lifts at any one time
  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, providing this doesn’t introduce additional health and safety risks
  • Remove or close off any children’s play equipment or play areas. Also, remove or disable any gaming machines and vending machines. This applies to other communal items such as pool tables, darts, table football, juke boxes etc. to limit touchpoints
  • Review emergency response procedures to verify they are up-to-date and there is adequate coverage for assigned positions on all shifts, such as security personnel, first aiders etc. Further support can be found on our emergency procedures page

Further support can be found on our health & safety risk assessment, mental health in the workplace, safe systems of work, fire risk assessment and cyber security pages.

  • Provide cleaning stations at entrance and exit points and other strategic locations, with signage to remind customers of the importance of washing hands and hygiene
  • Identify and regularly clean communal touchpoints, including door handles, stair handrails etc. Remove or limit touchpoints (e.g. not providing menus or condiments that are reusable)
  • Establish cleaning, disinfection and sanitisation procedures for pre and post re-opening. Review food safety management procedures based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).
cleaning surface with wipe
  • Review staffing levels, recognising the challenges with social distancing, particular in bar and kitchen areas
  • Limit access to walk-in fridges, freezers and pantries (no more than one person at a time)
  • Review arrangements for first aid provision and the guidance provided to first aiders
  • Provide adequate and suitable welfare facilities for employees and visiting drivers, including areas for safely changing, storing and laundering clothing and personal protective equipment
  • Ensure there’s continued support (practical and well-being) for any employees who continue to work from home.
covid-19 cleaning
  • Ensure careful and clear communication with suppliers specific to goods-in delivery arrangements, to best comply with social distancing measures
  • Consider the possibility of non-contact goods-in deliveries. Wherever possible schedule goods-in deliveries to avoid overcrowding in delivery areas and interaction with customers
  • Limit those involved in loading and unloading, and where more than one person is needed, using the same pairs of people. Encourage drivers to stay in their vehicles where this doesn’t compromise their safety
  • Review arrangements for collection, if click and collect / take-away services are provided.


delivery man with boxes and van
  • Reassess the layout of external and internal areas to ensure that social distancing guidance can be met
  • Control the number of customers allowed inside the premises and within any external areas provided. Only permit access to customers that have pre-booked, and confirm bookings electronically wherever possible
  • Limit the number of entry and exit points, with separate entry and exit points to both internal areas, and external areas (such as gardens) wherever possible
  • Encourage customers to wear face coverings where practical, (other than children under the age of 3 and anyone with a pre-existing condition that would render the use of a face covering inappropriate or not safe
  • Provide clear signage and markings outside (including in car park areas) and inside the premises to explain the social distancing measures that customers should follow. Establish one-way routes where possible
  • Limit the need for face-to-face contact by introducing technology (apps for example) to facilitate orders being placed from smart devices. Encourage contactless payment wherever possible
  • Limit access to customer toilets and welfare facilities 
  • Prohibit smoking and / or vaping in outdoor areas used by customers.
someone stood on 2m sign

The risk management information and guidance provided herein is not intended to be advice for any specific requirements.

Readers should seek further advice when dealing with their individual and particular situations. Allianz Insurance plc shall have no liability for any action taken as a result of and in reliance on the information contained in this document. The information contained in this document is correct at date of going to print and may be subject to change at any time.  All rights reserved