How to ensure the safety of your pub staff during COVID spikes

The world is gradually returning to normal after the pandemic, with most Covid-19 restrictions having eased (hurrah!) and the government unlikely to impose another lockdown. While this is good news, it’s not to say that isn’t any risk to our health. Many people remain cautious regarding Covid and plenty of companies have kept their safety measures in place. Factor in the possibility of future virus spikes, and it’s vital that people feel safe.

From a business perspective, you may feel excited to open up your pub to all the locals and serve them a fresh pint. After a couple of years of financial uncertainty, we completely understand the rush. However, there’s one group of people you can’t forget about — your staff. While pubs are back open, the risk is still present, and as an employer, you have a duty of care for your workers.

Everyone should feel comfortable at work, so here’s how you can ensure the safety of your pub staff as we move towards a ‘post-pandemic’ world.

1.    Get insurance

Covid-19 has disrupted the pub industry immensely, with six pubs demolished or converted for different uses every week during the peak. As the hospitality industry returns to ‘normal’, being a pub landlord has likely changed significantly. There are new things to consider, such as coronavirus losses that will impact your insurance policy, meaning you might need to add extra cover to it as a result.

The good news is that many insurance providers are adjusting packages to reflect the pandemic changes, ensuring you receive the cover you need. In the instance that you have to close due to a Covid outbreak, for example, your policy should ensure your staff still get paid even if they can’t go to work. As Brisco Business notes: “it makes sense to have business interruption cover included in your policy to finance any lost income for the period in which your doors are shut.”

2.    Provide face visors

While face covers are no longer legally required in England, guidance states to continue wearing one in crowded and enclosed spaces. Many businesses, including supermarkets, pubs, and shops are choosing to continue asking customers to wear a mask when entering their premises to protect staff and the general public.

Face masks do help to reduce the spread of the virus, but many of us have experienced a decrease in our ability to hear, as we rely on facial cues to help us understand speech sounds. This may have a direct impact on your team if communicating with customers becomes difficult. When you consider the busy environment of a pub, it’s likely your employees and visitors will feel frustrated if they’re unable to order effectively. To prevent this, suggest your workers wear a transparent face visor instead of a cloth mask. As these are more convenient, workers will be more inclined to wear them consistently, protecting them and your customers.

3.    Increase the number of sanitisation stations

Keeping hygiene practices in place despite the relaxing of restrictions is likely to make your staff feel more comfortable at work. Many people are still rightfully worried about the health risk they may be exposed to on shift, with some employees even leaving due to the risk of infection.

By investing in motion sensor hand sanitiser dispensers, as well as signs reminding everyone to wash their hands, your staff and customers will maintain good hygiene, preventing the transmission of Covid-19 to your hardworking team. Your employees are the stars behind your business, after all. If they know their employer is taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of others, the risk and worry are minimised, and staff can happily continue working.

4.    Utilise an ordering app

There was a period when customers were restricted from ordering drinks and food from the bar, which resulted in many pubs introducing apps to ensure visitors could safely order from their tables. This innovative technology protects both your team and your customers, helping to reduce physical contact and large clusters of people waiting at the bar.

These apps have proved to be successful, not only for boosting pub sales during a tough few years but also because customers love to skip the bar queue! GO Technology found that 40% of customers feel safer in a venue when they can order through their phone. Usage has also doubled due to the pandemic, with 43% of people saying they typically use technology to pay for their food and drinks.

Claire James
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