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Dr Muscat reminds Islanders to not attend social gatherings at hospitality venues

26 February 2021

​Hospitality venues reopened for seated food service on Monday 22 February, and this weekend Islanders are reminded to meet others only for a meal or a non-alcoholic drink, not for any other form of social gathering.

Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: “We should not be mixing in groups of more than 10. You can go to a restaurant for a meal and a drink, or to a café for a non-alcoholic drink, with up to 10 people. But you should not be participating in larger social activities.

“The relaxation of restrictions is not an opportunity to book out venues and invite more than 10 people to sit at separate tables, such as for a wedding reception. Nor is it an opportunity for venues to arrange a shared event such as football matches on a large screen, a pub quiz, or a fundraising event. Such gatherings encourage mixing and add to infection risk, they are a breach of the rules and should not be arranged. 

“The law states that alcohol must only be served with a meal. A light snack, such as a sandwich, is not considered a meal. Serving alcohol with it would be breaking the rules and the premises may be liable to prosecution.

“The public must support the industry by adhering to the guidelines. If you suspect that an event may not be lawful, please do not attend and be cautious of any events which seem suspicious.

“We are in a good place; our active cases continue to decline because people have stuck to the rules. But the risk of transmission, especially the Kent variant, remains high. It only takes one, asymptomatic individual to infect a group of friends and then many more will be forced into isolation as direct contracts.

“Meeting a maximum of 10 people when dining out reduces the risk of transmission. STAC will continue to review all measures to ensure the public are safe.”

The guidelines and law outline that:

• Food and drink consumed on the premises must be ordered and payed for while seated- any establishment which cannot cater for this, must operate as take-away only
• Events, such as bingo or quizzes, watching sport, fundraising events, family events such as wedding receptions or corporates events and meetings must not exceed 10 people
• Larger groups cannot bypass the rules by splitting up into smaller groups of 10 or less. Multiple tables of people gathering for the same purpose, such as celebrating a wedding or participating in a quiz - is not within the rules
• Masks must always be worn at all times when in the venue apart from when eating and drinking
• Contact tracing details must be taken by law
• Hygiene must be maintained

Food and Drink Services

Following the announcement of a cautious and phased approach of opening whilst Covid-19 case numbers in the island continue to reduce to lower levels, food and drink services will reopen if there is no change in the current situation.

Indoor and outdoor seated food and / or drink services has resumed in licensed premises and non-licensed premises, subject to the conditions and guidance set out below.

This does not include:

  • alcohol only service: alcohol must not be served unless with a main meal
  • drinks only licenced premises: pubs and other licensed premises may make arrangements to provide main meals and provide alcohol by partnering with a food business. Pubs or other licensed premises that do not serve food are not permitted to open
  • nightclubs: nightclubs must remain closed except for food and drink service
  • indoor soft play: soft play areas that form part of food and drink premises must remain closed
  • standing service / self-service: food and drink must only be provided to seated customers

No more than one table of 10 can be booked in connection with the same group.
At any time and for any purpose you should not take bookings of multiple tables for the purpose of groups trying to exceed the number of 10 coming together in your premises.
Whilst up to 40 people may attend a funeral or the solemnisation of a marriage or civil partnership, no more than 10 people can attend any wake or reception that may proceed or precede that event.

Venues are advised to only play low volume ambient background music on their premises to avoid people leaning into one another when talking.

Alcohol can only be served with food which must include the minimum of a main meal. Examples of what this constitutes include:

  • a main course item ordered from a menu
  • a combination of two "starters" ordered together to be consumed by the person ordering
  • a combination of one "starter" with two sides ordered together to be consumed by the person ordering
  • a minimum of three side orders or tapas portions ordered together to be consumed by the person ordering

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