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24 September Coronavirus Update

Published with the kind permisssion of the Association of Conservative Clubs


Dear ACC Clubs,

As Clubs will be aware, in the last 48 hours there have been considerable changes announced. We will attempt to explain all these changes below; on some questions we are still awaiting final clarification. These changes will, of course, impact most Clubs to some degree but hopefully they will only be in place temporarily and we are urgently reviewing technology based solutions to assist Clubs with changes such as the mandatory move to table service. 

There have also been some changes to Test and Trace announced.  Clubs, are now legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace - and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law ahead of the NHS COVID-19 app being rolled out nationally.   Please see the QR Code section below for relevant links and poster download. 

Clubs must now: 
Close at 10pm
Move to a table service only model
Understand and communicate face covering requirements for staff and customers 
Collect Test and Trace information and refuse service for those that do not provide it 
Put up the NHS Test and Trace App poster 
Enforce the ‘Rule of Six’, subject to exemptions

When are the new rules to be introduced? 
The rules announced by the Prime Minister will come into effect on Thursday 24th September at 00:01. 

Do Clubs have to stop serving at 10pm? 
Yes. The 10pm closure applies to bars and dining areas. Therefore Members and guests will not be able to continue using these areas which must be closed between 10pm and 5am. We believe that in practice, final orders should therefore be taken slightly before 10pm. We are aware of comments by the Welsh First Minister regarding closing times, see below, and are seeking clarification to ascertain if this is actually the official policy for Wales and if this also applies to England.

Mr Drakeford confirmed these measures at a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday.  This included clarifying the rule on pubs and restaurants to state that they had to stop serving alcohol at 22:00, rather than close completely, which he had said in the initial announcement on Tuesday evening.

Do Members and Guests need to wear face coverings while going to the toilet or entering the venue? 
Yes, new face covering regulations mandate the wearing of a covering in Clubs for customers and customer facing employees. A covering should also be worn when moving around Clubs, including while going to their table and going to the toilet. This applies to all Members, guests and employees unless they are exempt from wearing masks.

I understand that customer facing employees can wear face masks but can they use a clear plastic visor instead?
Yes, we understand that these types of coverings will be permitted. 

Can snooker and darts (and similar sports) still be played?
Yes, as before indoor sports can be played but different groups (comprised of up to six people) cannot play other groups and groups must remain separate from each other (i.e. when a snooker room has multiple tables where each table is being used by a separate group). 

Do Members and Guests have to wear masks whilst playing snooker or darts?
We are seeking clarification on this.  Currently we believe that masks are not required whilst persons are playing indoor sports such as snooker and darts. 

Can Members and Guests still play on the Club’s gaming machines? 
Yes, but whilst using the gaming machines they should be wearing masks. As before, machines should be cleaned and wiped down between uses. 

Is table service now required?
Table service is now mandatory. Bar service is no longer permitted so drinks and food service must be served to Members at their tables. There are app based solutions which will allow Members to order directly from their tables and their orders be received directly by the bar staff. We are reviewing these apps with a view to being able to recommend a specific app or apps in due course.

Can a Member go to the bar to order food or drink and then have bar staff deliver these items to their table?
No, Members and guests should be discouraged from moving around the Club once seated and orders must be made at the table by employees visiting them or using a technology solution such as an app or a phone. For instance, it would be possible for Club Members to phone orders through to the bar and we are looking at app solutions which could also assist. 

Our bar is Covid secure and has screens on it.  Can our Members still go to the bar to order drinks and food?
No, these regulations apply to all Clubs and all situations. For the ordering of drinks and food these must be taken via table service or a technology solution. 

We have a buffet on Sundays.  Can this still take place?
The buffet can still take place but the food must be served to Members whilst they are sitting at their tables. Members should not visit the buffet themselves. 

Have the new regulations changed the number of people permitted to visit a venue? 
No, up to six people are still permitted to be seated together (more if it is a single household and/or bubble). 

Can meetings (such as AGMs or Committee Meetings) of up to 30 people still be held? 
Yes, it is still permitted to hold work meetings of this size, provided that social distancing is observed. 

Can Clubs still host wedding receptions under the new rules?  
From Monday 28 September, wedding receptions are still permitted to take place but with a limit of 15 people. People that are not from the same household or support bubble should continue to socially distance from one another. The venue must record visitors' details, in case they need to be traced. 

Can wakes still be held?
The funeral service itself is capped at 30 people although we understand that any following wake will be restricted to 15 people although we are seeking clarification on this. As with wedding receptions, wakes must still be socially distanced and contact details taken. 

Can sit-down meals for more than 30 people take place? 
Large bookings of this kind are not currently permitted under government guidance.

Two parties of 6 come to the Club, with two separate table bookings. If staff know that the two groups are essentially one party, can they allow them in? If so, if the parties start to swap places between tables, how is it supposed to be policed and who is responsible for the breach of the rule of 6 – the individuals or the venue? 
In this instance, staff must ensure that there is no mixing/socialising between the two groups. This should be made clear to parties when entering a venue. Venues will be held liable if ‘group of six’ regulations are not being followed within their establishment and separate groups are allowed to mix.

What happens if groups are found to be socialising in groups of more than 6 in a venue? 
The government has made it clear that it is illegal not to follow these guidelines. Venues will be fined and/or be subject to other enforcement action if they are found to have knowingly broken these rules. Initial fines will be £1,000, to be paid within 28 days. The second fine rises to £2,000, the third and subsequent fines are £4,000 each.

Have the penalties for noncompliance changed? 
Businesses can now be fined up to £10,000 if they are found not to be in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. 

QR NHS App Codes
There is a FAQ regarding the new QR codes and app available for England on the NHS website here 

What is a QR code?
A QR code looks like a small barcode. These can be scanned by smartphones. In the case of the NHS app, the user will open the app, scan the QR code displayed at the Club and this will record their visit to the Club. 

New legal requirements regarding test and trace: 
Clubs, pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and other leisure venues in England and Wales will now need to advise customers of their obligation to take bookings of no more than 6 people, ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than 6 people on their premises (see below exemptions in Q&A) and ensure there is sufficient social distancing space between tables. 

It is also now mandatory to collect customer, visitor and staff contact detail logs. If you observe the customer using the official NHS app and QR code (once launched) there is no further requirement for data collection.  Clubs should refuse entry to customers that do not provide their details or provide details that are believed to be inaccurate 

From Thursday 24 September Clubs also need to display the official NHS QR code posters to make it easier for people to check-in at different premises once the app is rolled out nationally. If individuals choose to check-in using the QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route The aim of the law is to enable an individual (over the age of 16) who seeks to enter the Club and has a smartphone in their possession to scan the QR code with that smartphone as, or immediately after, they enter the premises.  You will soon see these QR codes displayed in all premises such as Pubs and Hotels. 

For persons who do not wish to use the NHS App or do not have a smartphone please still record their details as previously using a signing in book. Details to be recorded include name, telephone number and time of entry. If a person uses the NHS App to ‘check in’ no further information and they do not need to sign in the signing in book as before. 

To generate and download the official NHS QR Code for your Club visit: 

Each set of regulations can be found here: (test and trace) (rule of six) (face coverings indoors)
We are awaiting publication of 10pm curfews and table service regulations. 

General Government Questions and Answers:

We hope this information is of assistance to Clubs and we shall update our website as soon as we receive clarifications on several of the previously mentioned items. 

As ever, Clubs should contact us for any assistance that they require. 

Kind regards,

Charles Littlewood
Deputy Chief Executive
The Association of Conservative Clubs Ltd

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If you need any help or advice with re-opening your venue and COVID-19 health and safety measures, call us now on 0345 226 0002.

Chris Haley, Managing Director, Dransfields

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