As the Government seek to safely bring life back into the food & beverage sector in England, against the backdrop of rising COVID-19 infections and evolving scientific advice, rules and regulations are likely to be in a constant state of flux.

There have been some significant announcements this week, and it is critical that your business remains flexible and that you remain up to date with the latest changes. As a reminder, some of these changes in England include:


All hospitality venues including cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This includes takeaways i.e. consumers cannot collect food to take away after 10pm, although deliveries may continue after 10pm.

Given this restriction, takeaway services and online delivery has never been more important and it is crucial businesses have an online presence. Please see our materials on our offering in "digital transformation", or read our guide on growing your business online, for support.

Table Service

All venues except takeaway operators (e.g. McDonalds, Starbucks etc) will have to operate a table-service only. This means that food must be ordered from, and served at, a table.

Face Masks

All staff and customers must wear face masks whilst inside a venue, unless they are sitting down to eat or drink. This means that whilst consumers are in a queue waiting to order at a takeaway operator such as Starbucks, they must be wearing a mask.

Rule of 6

Groups are limited to a maximum of 6 people, whether indoors or outdoors. There is no restriction on the number of households that people within the 6 must be from, but social distancing must be maintained within a group between members of different households. Members of one group should not mingle with members of another group.

QR Code

Businesses must display the official NHS QR code posters to enable customers to 'check-in' at their premises. This should serve as an alternative option for customers to provide their contact details to venue staff in order for data to be collected for the track and trace system. Please click here.


The new guidelines are to become 'legal obligations.' Businesses found to be in breach of these obligations could face fines of up to £10,000, or closure.

Individuals may be fined £200 for a first offence of not wearing a face mask when required to do so.

A breach of the rule of 6 rule may result in a fine of £200 for a first offence, doubling for further breaches up to a limited of £6,400.

Additional Local measures


Due to local circumstances, Bolton has seen additional measures introduced which are more stringent than the national regulations.

All hospitality venues, including restaurants, hotel dining rooms, cafes (but not cafes in hospitals, care homes or school), bars and pubs are only permitted to provide take away food and drinks, or offer delivery services to customers. Customers are not permitted to eat or drink within the premises.

This effectively means that these businesses are only allowed to operate as takeaway services.

Nation differences


  • As of 6pm on 24 September, additional measures in Wales mean that all off-licenses (including supermarkets) will be prohibited from selling alcohol from 10pm. This is a rule which has not been introduced in England.


  • As of today, the rules that directly impact food and beverage businesses in Scotland are substaintially similar to those in England.

Northern Ireland

  • At the time of this update no curfew has been imposed but the need for a curfew is being considered by NI Executive.
  • Children under 12 are not included in the group of 6 rule (in England they are included)
  • More than 6 people are permitted in a group if they all belong to the same household (not the case in England where the max is 6 in a group)

Further updates

Please keep visiting our COVID-19 hub for further updates. The rules and regulations are ever-changing, particularly where local outbreaks are likely to become more prevalent, and it is critical that you are up to date with the latest changes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.