March 8, 2021

17 May - Step 3: All you need to know

Step 3 of the roadmap will take place no earlier than 17 May and at least five weeks after Step 2.

An official announcement from the government will be issued at least one week in advance to communicate whether restrictions will be eased as planned.

This step will be crucial for the reopening of the so-called "high-risk sectors" which includes indoor hospitality, accommodation, entertainment and events. At this stage, it is important to keep in mind that groups of six people or two households will be allowed to meet indoors, whereas groups of 30 will be allowed to meet only outdoor. Groups up to 30 people will be allowed to meet indoors only to celebrate life events (e.g. weddings or christenings).

  • During Step 3, the following sectors will be allowed to reopen:
  • Indoor hospitality: pubs, bars, restaurants
  • Remaining accommodation: hotels, hostels, B&Bs
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment: outdoor theatres, outdoor cinemas
  • Indoor entertainment: museums, theatres, cinemas, children’s play areas
  • Adult indoor sports: group sports, exercise classes
  • Large events: conferences, theatre and concert performances, sports events.

Prepare for the return of international travel

By 17 May at the earliest, if certain conditions are met, international leisure travel will be resumed. This might allow the UK to create safe travel corridors with other countries leading to an increase in international travel. If this happens, businesses, especially in the hospitality and accommodation sectors, will have to consider preparing for a possible increase in tourist demand.

In view of this, accommodation businesses like hotels and hostels could think about adjusting staffing and revising operations to accommodate a larger number of international guests. If you are a business working with intentional tourists, you might think to reinforce even further safety in your premises to reduce the risk of infection among guests.

You can find specific guidelines on how to improve hygiene on the website:

5 Steps to ensure cleanliness and hygiene in your workplace

Expect more people around

With people allowed to meet indoor in larger groups and social distancing restrictions being further eased by the government, you should expect larger groups of people willing to access your premises.

Businesses, especially those within the hospitality sector, should consider adapting operations and layout of areas to host larger groups of people, taking further safety precautions to separate different groups (for example through barriers between tables).

At the same time, with people moving in larger groups, queues are likely to become longer. It could be worth revising and adapting your current queue management plans by changing layouts, employing more stewards and/or developing precise standards to manage groups.

You can find specific guidelines to manage queues and social distancing on the website:

Queuing and pre-ordering

Layout and social distancing

Fewer constraints for serving meals

As opposed to previous restrictions, business operating in the hospitality sector will have fewer constraints to serve meals. There will be no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks and no curfew. Table service will still be a requirement, with guests required to order, eat and drink while seated.

If you are serving alcohol, you might want to control the situation more closely, for example by employing more stewards or encouraging people from different groups to keep social distancing.

Events and gatherings will have some restrictions

If you are an event business or part of your activity relies on large events, you should be aware that they will be subject to limits. Indoor events up to 1,000 people, for example, will need to be carried out at half of the normal capacity; outdoors, they can be run at half capacity or 4,000 people. For larger venues (at least 40,000 capacity) up to 10,000 will be allowed to attend.

If you are a business whose activity is indirectly linked to local events (e.g. catering, logistics) you should consider revising your staffing plans and operations to meet increased demand. Also, as celebrations of life events, such as weddings, will be able to resume in groups of 30 people, businesses indirectly linked to such events should consider doing the same.

Guidelines from the government

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