How to make the most of your venue’s space and open safely this summer
As lockdown begins to ease, the hospitality industry in the UK is busy preparing to re-open venues in time to take advantage of the summer months. But with strict social distancing rules and regulations in place, if you want to make the most of the seasonal trade, it’s critical that you are able to create a social and enjoyable atmosphere whilst complying with the necessary social distancing requirements.
It’s no surprise that the hospitality industry in the UK was one of the hardest hit by the lockdown measures. 48,349 pubs were forced to shut their doors in March, along with 84% of restaurants and cafes, meaning that they missed out on a number of holidays and celebrations which would normally boost trade such as the Easter Holidays and the VE Day anniversary.
So, as venues up and down the country prepare to hopefully reopen in early July, what will the new ‘normal’ look like and how can venues provide an environment where customers feel safe to visit whilst still growing valuable trade?
What do you need to consider?
The potential social distancing rules which would also be in place in for the hospitality industry in the UK across pubs, restaurants and bars include:
- Spaced tables to adhere to social distancing guidelines, with some suggesting a maximum of four per table
- Customers drinking away from the bar and keeping a safe distance from staff
- Separate entrance and exit points
- Customers discouraged from returning empty glasses
- Socially distanced queuing when waiting to order food and drink or visiting toilets
- Restrictions on the numbers in smoking areas and outdoor playing areas
With this in mind, then, what steps can you take to make sure your venue abides by the rules whilst still providing a positive experience for your customers?
1. Adapting your outside space
One thing that will be key to opening safely will be the amount of outside space a venue has and how this can be adapted to allow for social distancing measures. The good news is that over half of the UK’s pubs have beer gardens, making them well placed to meet the government guidelines. Simple measures such as increasing the number of smaller but well-spaced tables and chairs can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively, whilst it’s also important to ensure that your furniture is made of hygienic materials which are easy to clean and maintain.
2. Increasing your indoor capacity
Whilst some venues will be able to make these changes very quickly and effectively, what about restaurants and cafes with limited or no outdoor space? In these instances, the two-metre social distancing rules will essentially halve the number of customers of a restaurant or café, which will have a serious impact on their revenue. However, there are ways to get around it, with the clever use of hygiene screens and partitions providing one way to increase capacity without being too intrusive on the style and atmosphere of the venue. Using screens which have visibility panels give the effect of open space, so you can adhere to social distancing without affecting the acoustics or ambience of the setting. There is also the option to choose bespoke screens that match your décor, create an exciting, stand-out design or support seasonal campaigns and short term offers.
3. Make it easy for the customer to understand
To help your customers adhere to the social distancing measures you have put in place, providing clear signposting and barrier systems is a great way to give good visual clues. From one-way systems and markings on the floor signposting where to stand in a socially distanced queue to restricting the use of certain tables, it’s really important to make things as clear as possible for your customers to understand so that their experience in your venue is relaxing and enjoyable. Finally, it’s also important to add hand sanitiser stations in clearly visible locations near to all entrances as well as in smoking areas, by the bar and outside the toilets to make your visitors feel more secure.
How Eclipse can help
At Eclipse, we have a range of partitions, screens and protective products all available for very quick delivery. So if you need any outdoor contract furniture items or need help and advice on how to make the most of your indoor space so that you can re-open your venue safely, contact us now.