What is the 'one-metre plus' rule and how will it be applied in pubs and restaurants from July 4?
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The most significant easing of lockdown measures to date will allow various areas of the hospitality sector to reopen on Saturday, July 4, including pubs, restaurants and cinemas.
The ‘one-metre plus’ measure will be introduced in unison with this, for when it is not practical to stay two-metres apart.
This comes after prolonged pressure from MPs and the hospitality industry, who stressed that maintaining a two-metre distance at all times would not be financially viable for the sector to reopen.
Current Government guidance says that ‘where possible, you should maintain two metres between people’ but will change to state ‘two metres or one metre with risk mitigation (where two-metres is not viable) are acceptable’.
Simply put, if people from separate households or support bubbles can reasonably stay two metres apart from one another, they should do so.
If they are unable to observe the two-metre rule effectively, people should take the necessary precautions to help reduce the risk of transmission such as wearing a face covering, thorough cleaning and practising good hygiene.
The Government’s scientific evidence shows that the relative risk of transmitting coronavirus at one metre could be between two and 10 times higher than two metres without any mitigations in place.
But guidance suggests that applying such mitigations at one metre is ‘broadly equivalent to being two-metres apart’ though ‘a precise and quantitative assessment of how much risk is reduced by mitigations is not possible’.
Businesses have in turn been advised that they can reduce risk by adopting mitigations such as capacity control, improved ventilation, using protective screens and pre-ordering.
In addition, the Government has outlined the mitigations that should be applied across all settings in the hospitality sector, including:
*Maintain two metres where viable
*Staff must stay at home when symptomatic and get tested
*Maintaining hand hygiene and cough etiquette
*Thorough and regular cleaning of shared areas, including toilets
*Wearing face coverings when distances of two-metres cannot be kept in indoor environments where possible
*Recording staff contact details and working patterns to support test and trace