Released: July 2, 2020

Steps to support reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants

City of Wolverhampton Council and other agencies have been getting in touch with businesses - including pubs, bars and restaurants - to help them reopen safely from Saturday (July 4).

Following recent government guidance, cafes, hair salons and barbers, hotels and bed & breakfast accommodation are also among businesses able to reopen from this weekend, provided they adhere to social distancing and safety measures that protect both staff, customers and the public.

It follows more than three months of closures in response to the Covid-19 outbreak – and customers are also being urged to follow the Government’s coronavirus safety guidelines to help avoid a local lockdown like Leicester.

The council and city partners, including the Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID), Bilston BID and police, are working with premises to understand how venues intend to operate safely and to assess any plans to extend or request outdoor seating areas.

Stewards and BID ambassadors will be in place in the city centre to assist visitors, and the council’s licensing, environmental health and trading standards teams will be supporting businesses across Wolverhampton as they gradually begin reopening from Saturday and over the coming weeks.

The council’s public toilets in the city centre (Victoria Street), Bilston, Wednesfield, Tettenhall Park and West Park are open.

Businesses should check https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/business/wolvesinbusiness/reopening-wolves for all the latest guidance and support available to them regarding reopening. This web page also includes a range of posters produced by the council for businesses to download and print to inform customers as the city begins to reopen. (The activity will be funded by the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund from the Cities and Local Growth Unit (CLGU) grant provided by the European Regional Development Fund.)

Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “We all want and need businesses to reopen safely and the hospitality sector have suffered financially since the first lockdown measures were introduced due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Pubs, bars and restaurants are having to takes steps to operate effectively and we want to help where we can.

“It’s about managing the experience for pub and restaurant visitors while mitigating any potential hazards or anti-social behaviour.

“A lot of the new guidance will rely on sensible co-operation between everyone to help ensure a safe and successful reopening.

“It’s about ensuring businesses operate within the licensing requirements and to support them with any planned changes.

“Customers must also play their part in following Government guidelines to protect themselves, others and the city from the risk of a local lockdown.”

The council’s licensing team has written to businesses and is offering to arrange to visit licensed premises and food businesses who need help with complying with the new guidance.

If you have any queries regarding the requirements or would like some support to help you open your business as safely as possible, please do not hesitate to contact Business Services on 01902 551155.

Wolverhampton BID Director, Cherry Shine, said: “City centre pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes look forward to welcoming people back in a safe way. Businesses have been busy preparing, adapting and introducing new measures including table service, regular cleaning and signing guest books all of which are required by government. I would urge people to support their local pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants and help the staff adapt to the new ways for the safety of everyone.”

Bilston BID Manager, Simon Archer, added, "We've been keeping in touch with the Bilston town centre pubs during lockdown and we're confident they are as prepared as they can be. I would urge the general public to be patient with the staff, who will be working hard to ensure customers are kept happy, whilst adhering to government guidelines."

Wolverhampton Police Superintendent, Simon Inglis, said: “We have actively engaged with licensed premises across the city to ensure they are fully aware of the clear guidance provided by the government regarding how they can safely operate when they re-open on Saturday.

“We are fully aware of the regulations and have been pleased by the positive response we have received from licence holders. We are still operating during a period of heightened risk to public safety and we would ask that the public help us to keep them safe.

“We will have an enhanced presence this weekend to support those premises, however we believe that if patrons follow the restrictions in place they should be able to enjoy a safe and pleasant weekend with little or no need for our services.”

Premises will need to complete a risk assessment which takes COVID-19 into account. Please be aware that this is a legal requirement within government guidance. Failure to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment could constitute a breach of health and safety law.