Lawyers Say Venues Still Face Many Challenges To Safely Operate Following Covid-19 Lockdown
Specialist Public Health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are urging businesses and customers to adhere to guidelines when pubs, restaurants and hotels reopen.
The Government has, this afternoon, announced plans for more businesses to open their doors from 4 July as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions continue to be eased.
Hairdressers will also be among the businesses allowed to reopen.
However, indoor gyms and play areas as well as swimming pools and nail bars are among those that will remain closed.
The Government has said people should remain two metres apart where possible but a “one metre plus" rule will be introduced.
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are reminding all businesses that they must comply with health and safety obligations and those legal obligations have not changed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Jatinder Paul is an expert public health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who has represented hundreds of people who have fallen seriously ill after visiting establishments, including pubs, restaurants and hotels in the UK.
The Public Health Team at national firm, Irwin Mitchell, has vast experience of handling illness outbreak cases arising from incidents in the UK including holiday resorts, restaurants and public establishments, such as successfully representing almost 30 people who contracted salmonella from contaminated food from the Real China restaurant in Southampton, and successfully representing almost 300 diners who fell ill after visiting the Toby Carvery Exeter Arms in Exeter in 2015.
Expert Opinion“While this announcement is going to be welcomed by many there remains uncertainty around the capability of public venues such as bars and restaurants to be able to reopen safely.
“Many businesses are still going to face many challenges to reopen safely. The location of tables to seat guests, the availability of equipment such as protective screens and whether customers can safely use toilets without breaking social distancing, are just some of the likely hurdles businesses are going to have to overcome.
“Obviously businesses will be keen to reopen to avoid further financial difficulties; however, it’s imperative that social distancing and the highest hygiene standards are upheld at all times.
“The danger of illnesses connected to poor hygiene should never be underestimated. We see hundreds of cases every year when people’s lives have been turned upside down as a result of hygiene issues which could and should have been avoided.
“If they haven’t already we would urge businesses to start planning for how they can reopen safely. It’s also vital businesses are aware of their legal obligations and take all appropriate measures, including full risk assessments, not only to protect employees and customers but themselves.
“We would urge customers to also support businesses by sticking to guidelines in place.” Jatinder Paul - Senior Associate Solicitor
The Government said the relaxation of lockdown measures would be monitored and were “reversible.”
Dr Lisa Ackerley, a leading health and hygiene consultant who regularly works with Irwin Mitchell, said: “Businesses may be faced with concerns about how to prepare and it is important that they carry out their own risk assessments because they are best placed to understand what would work best on their premises.
“Whilst guidelines will provide ideas for solutions, in the main they cannot be prescriptive as every business is different.”