Home Covid-19 updates Hospitality And Retail Business FAQs

Hospitality And Retail Business FAQs

by Adam Howarth, Editor
Hospitality Sector

Please see the following Hospitality And Retail Business FAQs. The questions deal with the sale of alcohol and face coverings after the recent Government announcements.

No alcohol sales after 10pm

  • What are the new 10pm restrictions for pubs, bars and restaurants with a licence to sell alcohol?

All licensed premises in Wales must stop selling alcohol at 10pm. They must close (with no members of the public on the premises) by 10.20pm. For pubs, bars and restaurants and all other premises serving alcohol, there will be a 20-minute ‘drink up’ time. This time period will minimise the risk of customers all leaving the premises at the same time. It should also provide greater flexibility for restaurants to practice a pattern of two evening sittings. Additionally, it will allow a short time for customers to finish their meals. Licensed premises will not be able to reopen until 6am the following morning.

  • Will the same restrictions apply to all venues with a licence to sell and serve alcohol on the premises?

Yes, the same restrictions apply to all licensed premises. This extends to businesses such as cinemas, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, snooker halls and social clubs. But only if they have a licence to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. Cinemas can stay open so that a screening which starts before 10pm can finish. They cannot serve alcohol after 10pm.

  • What about alcohol served in hotels and other forms of accommodation with a licence?

Where an accommodation provider has a licence to sell alcohol, they must stop selling alcohol at 10pm. They must also close the part of their premises in which customers consume alcohol (generally the hotel bar) by 10.20pm. The rest of the premises do not need to close and room service can continue after 10pm. The room service may not include alcohol, however. These restrictions must remain in place until 6am the next day.

  • Can you still serve alcohol at wedding receptions, civil partnerships or funeral wakes after 10pm?

Licensed premises hosting wedding receptions, civil partnership receptions and funeral wakes must stop selling and serving alcohol at 10pm. This measure is in accordance with the Welsh rules. The premises (or the part of a hotel in which customers consume alcohol) must close by 10.20pm.

  • Do supermarkets, off-licences and convenience stores have to stop selling alcoholic drinks in-store after 10pm?

Yes. All off-licences, including supermarkets and convenience stores, can remain open. Nevertheless, they have to stop selling alcohol in-store from 10pm. They cannot sell alcohol again until 6am the next day.

  • Will I be able to have an online order from a supermarket, including alcohol, delivered to my home after 10pm?

Online deliveries from supermarkets and other providers can happen after 10pm, but must not include alcohol.

  • Can premises without a licence to serve alcohol remain open beyond 10pm?

Yes, premises serving food and non-alcoholic drinks can remain open beyond 10pm. Examples are cafés, coffee house chains, fast-food restaurants and takeaway premises.

  • Can pubs and restaurants which have a licence to serve alcohol provide “takeaway” delivery services beyond 10pm?

Any premises providing takeaway delivery services can continue to provide food takeaway delivery services beyond 10pm. However, food takeaway deliveries cannot include any alcohol beyond 10pm. Customers may not collect their orders directly from these premises from 10.20pm onwards.

  • Can licensed premises at ports and airports remain open after 10pm?

Yes, licensed premises serving food and drink at ports and airports can remain open after 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time.

  • Are blanket restrictions being applied across all areas of Wales?

Yes, these restrictions apply to all areas of Wales, including local lockdown areas. However, there may be additional local restrictions in place which you should consider and apply alongside this guidance.

Table service rules for licensed premises

  • What are the new “table service” rules for licensed premises?

The new table service restrictions mean that all premises which have a licence to serve alcohol now need to serve customers only when they are sitting down, generally at a table. Customers must also order, consume and pay for the food and drink at that table. This is regardless of whether they are consuming alcohol as part of their visit. Businesses should use smartphone apps for customers to order and pay for food to minimise contact between staff and customers.

  • Can I still stand at the bar of a pub or bar and have a drink?

All hospitality businesses in Wales with a licence to sell alcohol must serve food and drink to people who are sitting down they must consume it while in a seat. Sitting at the bar is against regulations.

  • Are there any exemptions for licensed premises? What about buffet-service for example?

Where a restaurant is operating a buffet service, you can treat the food service of the food as you are serving it at a table. You should escort the customer to the table on arrival and they should pay for their meal at their table. However, the customer can select food from the buffet if they wear a face covering to approach the buffet and use a hand sanitiser.

Customers visiting the buffet should also maintain a distance of two metres from other customers (except between two members of the same household or extended household, or a carer and the person the carer is assisting). Customers should not serve themselves from the buffet as a member of staff should do this.

  • What about “self-service” type canteens in workplaces or education establishments?

There is also an exception for any workplace canteens, including canteens in educational establishments such as universities operating buffets and that have a licence to sell alcohol. Customers must, however, consume food or drink sitting down and you should not serve alcohol after 10pm and you must close at 10.20pm.

  • How do the table service rules affect activity-led venues with a licence to serve alcohol?

Activity-led venues with licences to sell alcohol such as bingo halls, snooker halls and bowling alleys should ensure that customers order, serve and pay for food and drink at the table. You should conduct other related activities such as selling bingo tickets, should, where possible, at the table to minimise contact with other customers.

The activities themselves (such as bowling or playing snooker) can take place away from the table, but customers cannot carry out these activities together with anyone they don’t live with unless they have formed an (exclusive) extended household in a group of up to six people from that extended household.

  • Does the new table-service-only guidance for licensed premises also apply to establishments that do not sell alcohol, for example coffee house chains?

No, table service restrictions do not apply to establishments that do not sell alcohol. Customer should maintain social distancing of two metres while queueing at a counter to place their order and, if eating on the premises, customers should consume food and drink at a table.

Face coverings

  • Are hospitality premises exempt from the rule on face coverings in indoor public places?

No. Face coverings are mandatory in all indoor public spaces open to members of the public (applies to all staff and customers aged 11 and over) unless you have a reasonable excuse not to wear one.

For hospitality premises, customers entering and leaving restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and walking around these premises, and staff working at these premises should now wear a face covering. Customers can remove face coverings when they are sitting at a table to eat or drink.

  • Do I need to wear a face-covering if I am collecting a takeaway?

Yes, you do need to wear a face-covering if you are buying and collecting food from a takeaway or takeaway area of a restaurant.

  • Can I wear a visor instead of a face covering?

In the context of the requirements imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a visor or face shield is not a face-covering. It consists of waterproof material, fits loosely over the eyes and extends down such that it may lie over but not cover the nose and mouth. It cannot fit snugly around the nose and mouth as it could impair breathing and may fog. The effectiveness of visors and face shields is unknown at present.

They are worn in clinical/caregiving settings to protect against large droplet exposure, including by inoculation through the eyes, but outside these settings, there is no evidence that face shields/visors protect the wearer or are an effective source control for either larger droplets or small aerosols.

While some people have difficulty making themselves heard when wearing other types of face covering, visors protect the eyes from airborne droplets and you should use them with a face mask.

Meetings or gatherings indoors (rule of six but only from your household or extended household)

  • How many people are able to sit together indoors at the same table within a café, bar, pub or restaurants?

Meetings or gatherings indoors within hospitality venues have a limit of six people at any one time (not including any children aged under 11) and can only include members of your household or extended household (bubble) if you have formed one.

Where a (single) household is made up of more than six people aged 11 or over, because they live together, there are no restrictions on the members of that household being together in indoor public spaces like pubs and restaurants. There is also no limit on the number of children aged under 11 who can be part of a gathering indoors.

  • What are the rules for forming an extended household?

The key rules on who belongs to an extended household are that:

  1. An extended household can be a maximum of four households.
  2. No person can be part of more than one extended household with the exception of children who live in two homes (for example because their parents have separated and have joint custody).
  3. All individuals in one home must belong to the same extended household.
  4. All the adult members of each household must agree to join the same extended household.
  5. Once you have agreed and joined an extended household, nobody can leave the extended household to form a new one.
  • Are there any restrictions on the number of people who can gather within a hospitality venue if they are attending a wedding reception, a civil partnership or a funeral wake?

Wedding receptions and funeral wakes remain at 30 people indoors distancing two metres and wearing face coverings.

  • What reasonable measures should I take as a hospitality business to ensure that customers are complying with ‘the rule of six’ from a household or extended household?

You should review any bookings taken prior to the change in Welsh law on the ‘rule of 6’ which came into effect on 14th September.

Where any bookings have been made that do not comply with the single household rule or the rule of six from an extended household, you must make a rebooking. This new booking must comply with the new rules. Alternatively, you must agree on a postponement or make a cancellation.

You should take all reasonable measures to ensure that individual bookings you take are for people from the same household. Alternatively, these bookings can be for up to six people from an extended household (not including any children aged under 11). Businesses should not knowingly take a booking for over six people (unless they are from the same household) by separating the party onto different tables.

Services should comply with the rule of 6 from an extended household regardless of whether the booking is for guests from outside of Wales where different rules may apply.

  • What if it is not commercially viable for my business to operate by maintaining the two-metre distancing rule between tables?

It may not be commercially viable for you to include enough tables outside at a distance of two metres apart to accommodate the whole party. If this is the case, you can place the tables closer together as long as you take steps to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. This might include installing physical barriers such as protective screens between tables that you can wash or clean effectively. You can also ensure there is back-to-back or side-to-side seating (rather than face-to-face).

See this link for details.

Meetings or gatherings outdoors (rule of 30)

  • How many customers can gather outdoors at hospitality premises to eat or drink?

Individual groups of up to 30 people can gather outdoors. These groups can include a mix of households (not limited to the same/extended household). However, customers should keep two metres apart if they are not part of the same household or extended household.

  • Does the rule of 30 apply to the total space or an individual group?

The rule of 30 applies to individual groups or gatherings. It does not apply to the total capacity for a hospitality business in an outdoor setting. This setting can be larger if space allows and you can maintain social distancing. Any such decision should depend on your business having conducted a risk assessment. This risk assessment should determine if the capacity adheres to social distancing measures.

  • What if it is not commercially viable to maintain the two-metre distancing rule between a group or gathering who are not all part of the same extended household?

It may not be commercially viable for you to include enough tables outside at a distance of two metres apart to accommodate the whole party. If this is the case, you can place the tables closer together as long as you take steps to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. This might include installing physical barriers such as protective screens between tables that you can wash or clean effectively. You can also ensure there is back-to-back or side-to-side seating (rather than face-to-face).

  • Can customers gather under physical coverings outside to protect them from the weather?

Physical coverings such as awnings, gazebos or marquees should be open-sided (at least three or four sides) if they are to be eligible as an external environment. If they are closed on all sides, they are an internal environment and the rules on indoor gatherings apply.

The NHS Covid-19 app and how it works with Wales’ existing visitor and customer record-keeping requirements

  •  Is it essential that I continue to keep records of staff, visitors and customers if I sign up to the new NHS Covid-19 App?

 Keeping records of staff, customers and visitors remains compulsory for hospitality businesses in Wales. You should continue to employ your own record-keeping system. This system can manual/paper, digital or QR code systems to support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.


This compulsory guidance still applies regardless of where you sign up to the new NHS Covid-19 App and display the new QR poster. This is also regardless of how many posters you put up for your customers. It also still applies if they choose to check in to your venue using this new App.

  • How will the new NHS Covid-19 App complement my existing record keeping systems?

The new App complements the existing mandatory arrangements on keeping records of staff, customers and visitors. It does this providing your customers with the fastest way to see if they are at risk from coronavirus. The new NHS Covid-19 App does not substitute this guidance and is not essential or mandated. The App works in exactly the same way in England and Wales. The more people who use it, the more it will help to slow the spread of Covid-19.


  • Is it essential that my business signs up to the new NHS Covid-19 App?

Hospitality businesses should to register for the App. They should also display the QR code poster in their venue to enable customers to use the check-in function. This way, they can keep track of where they have been. However, this is not mandatory in Wales.


We hope you found this Hospitality And Retail Business FAQs article useful. For more of our articles informing you about business and general updates on Covid-19, please click here.

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