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Information for pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and other hospitality businesses on opening, reopening, and making your workplace COVID safe. 

50 customers allowed in pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants from Monday 1 June 2020

From Monday 1 June 2020, pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants in NSW will be able to have up to 50 customers on the premises at once.

  • Venues must follow the four square metre rule.
  • All customers need to be seated.
  • Maximum of 10 customers per booking.
  • Encourage customers to book ahead to avoid queuing.

Food and drink premises can open

The NSW Government is relaxing some restrictions on hospitality businesses. 

Food and drink businesses can open to sell:

  • takeaway food and drinks
  • food and drinks to no more than 10 seated customers at any point in time
  • liquor if it is sold with food.

Food and drink businesses in accommodation premises (such as a hotel) can continue providing room service.

Business owners can decide whether or not this is the right time to reopen.

Rules for businesses

Maximum 10 customers on premises and 4 square metre rule applies

You can have a maximum of 10 customers on your premises at once.

You must have 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises – this includes customers and staff. If your premises cannot provide 4 square metres of space for each person, then this will mean you can only seat less than 10 people. 

Examples of how to apply the 4 square metre rule.

Maintain physical distancing

Physical distancing should be followed at all times to keep customers and staff safe.

Businesses can put systems in place to encourage physical distance between customers: 

  • Encourage customers to call ahead to reserve tables, rather than gathering out the front of venues to queue.
  • Place queue markers outside your premises, at checkouts and at counters.
  • Install screens where staff and customers interact. 
  • Encourage cashless payments to reduce contact.
  • Encourage good hand hygiene by making hand sanitiser available for customers when they enter your premises and displaying posters.

SafeWork NSW guidance for COVID safe workplaces

    Consider putting the following into practice in your workplace to keep staff and customers COVID safe.

    A risk assessment will help you determine: 

    • the likelihood of a customer or worker being exposed to COVID-19 and why
    • whether your existing control measures are effective
    • if there are additional control measures that could be implemented

    A risk assessment starts with a consultation with your workers. Consider how they may be exposed to COVID-19. Where necessary further risk analysis or expert opinion may be required.

    Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces are the most effective ways of removing the COVID-19 virus from your premises.

    Have a cleaning and disinfecting schedule in place.

    Pay particular attention to all high contact areas such as:

    • doors and handles
    • counters and displays
    • lifts – interior and exterior call buttons
    • handrails on stairs and escalators.

    Make sure all workers comply with COVID-19 health advice.

    To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, daily screening questions can be considered as workers enter the workplace, such as whether they have:

    • experienced cold or flu-like symptoms
    • a temperature
    • been in contact with anyone that is confirmed to have COVID-19.

    If the answer is 'yes' to any of the above questions, the worker should not be allowed entry to the workplace and should be directed to return home and seek medical advice.

    PPE alone will not protect workers. You must implement a range of control measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, including good hygiene, physical distancing and cleaning and disinfecting.

    The type of PPE you provide will depend on your workplace and the outcomes of consultation with staff and your risk assessment.

    Find PPE suppliers.

    Protective screens (sneeze guards)

    Protective screens can be useful in workplaces where 1.5m distancing cannot be maintained. 

    Businesses may consider installing screens at customer contact points e.g. front counters as an additional layer of protection.

    Masks and gloves

    Masks and gloves are not considered necessary for hospitality. Regular handwashing is better, unless gloves are required for tasks like food preparation.

    Eye protection

    Eye protection, such as safety glasses, goggles or a face shield can act as a physical barrier from sneezing and prevent unintentional rubbing of eyes between hand washing.  

    Eye protection is not considered a required control measure for hospitality businesses. Washing your hands and following good hygiene practices are more important.

    The COVID-19 outbreak has led to increased fear and anxiety among the public.

    As businesses reopen with reduced occupancy and queues there is a potential for customers to be frustrated and act out.

    All hospitality businesses have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for workers. 

    Consult with workers to identify the situations where there’s a risk of verbal, aggressive or violent behaviour.

    Then implement solutions, which can include:

    • manage customer expectations
    • promote a zero tolerance policy
    • provide instruction, training and supervision to de-escalate aggressive behaviour.

    Food safety and COVID-19

    There are no direct food safety measures as a result of COVID-19.

    All food businesses must continue to comply with existing requirements under the Food Standards Code, with particular vigilance on maintaining good hygiene practices.

    Food Authority NSW

    Food Standards Australia New Zealand

    Further resources

    SafeWork NSW app

    Speak Up Save Lives app logo

    Speak Up Save Lives

    Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility. 

    If you see something unsafe in your workplace, SafeWork NSW wants you to speak up and tell your boss. This app lets you report an unsafe work situation and it gives you the choice to remain anonymous. You can tag your location, include photos, and choose to be kept updated on the issue you’ve reported.

    Last updated: 22 May 2020

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