The Reopening of The Hospitality Sector

3rd July 2020

After last month’s successful reopening of the retail sector – all eyes are now on the hospitality industry, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s big announcement that hotels, pubs and restaurants would be permitted to reopen on July 4.

The four month long closure – as well as the luxury of being able to open two weeks after retail, has allowed the hospitality sector to refine their approach to business in the era of COVID-19. While many eateries have managed to remain open; providing food delivery and takeaway services to generate income – being able to welcome customers this Saturday remains a momentous occasion for the industry.

Keeping you safe

The initial government proposal of spacing tables 6.5 feet away was proving to be a logistical struggle for smaller establishments – however, last week’s slight relaxation of the two-metre rule has instilled restaurants and pubs with optimism. With the minimum social distance reduced to “1-metre-plus” – businesses are discovering that they can effectively function, whilst providing a safe environment for staff and visitors. 

All businesses will be required to limit the number of people allowed inside at any given time – with markings on the floor to ensure appropriate social distancing. Clear use and cleaning guidance will be enforced in regards to toilets; with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage. Normal cleaning products will be utilised – paying close attention to areas often touched; using disposable cloths or paper roll to wipe down all hard surfaces. Where congestion is caused by people flow and pinch points can be improved – one-way systems will be employed, staggered shifts and assigned staff mealtimes are possible ways to minimise the risk of transmission.

With alterations to shift patterns, mandatory table service and more use of hand sanitiser – the hospitality industry and the government have published thorough guidance as to how to reopen restaurants, pubs and hotels post-lockdown:


  • Customers will be encouraged to order drinks on smart phone apps, as opposed to queuing at the bar.
  • Pub staff will clean bar tops, door handles and fruit machines hourly.
  • Seating will be appropriately socially distanced. 


  • Napkins and cutlery will only be brought out with the food.
  • Single-use paper menus will replace laminated menus.
  • Condiments will be served in single sachets on request.
  • Contactless card payment will be encouraged. 


  • Doormen will remind new arrivals that social distancing must be observed.
  • Receptionists will keep their distance. 
  • Guests will be encouraged to take the stairs as opposed to using lifts.
  • Hotel guests will be encouraged to use room service rather than the hotel restaurant.
  • Guests must self-isolate in their hotel room if they fall ill and their food will be delivered on paper plates.
  • Guests will be encouraged to wear masks in communal corridors.
  • It will be ensured that any bar or dining area is only opened in a way compliant with the UK government’s guidance for the hospitality sector.
  • Hotels will work with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider how to spread the number of people arriving throughout the day – for example by staggering opening hours; this will help reduce demand on public transport at key times and avoid overcrowding.
  • Staff will be accessible to guests via phone, emails and guest apps.

The Pantiles

At The Pantiles – the easement of lockdown measures and the return of customers has demonstrated a persistent appetite for in-store shopping. Although there were undoubtedly initial nerves – duly expected after nearly four months in lockdown; footfall is now returning to pre-pandemic levels, with the public demonstrating a great respect for the imposed social distancing protocol. 

We are excited to see more tenants recommence trade and experience similar success, after the resumption of the hospitality sector this weekend. In order to ensure the well-being of all costumers; we are making full use of the outside space in this historic part of Tunbridge Wells – however, we advise all visitors to remain vigilant of the 1-metre-plus rule.

Reopening dates and any changes to our social distancing measures will be communicated with you via our website and social media pages.