Global health and safety company Bureau Veritas has advised that hospitality businesses must step up their fight against coronavirus transmission with a more robust and formalised framework to avoid the risk of fines or closure, following the Prime Minister’s announcement that Covid-secure guidelines are set to become a legal obligation.

Speaking in the Commons on 22nd September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that for retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, Covid-secure guidelines – introduced in May to help businesses safely reopen post-lockdown – are to become legal obligations. This means that businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.

Bureau Veritas, which has been working with various sectors throughout the coronavirus pandemic to help them implement Covid-secure guidance, has described the move as “monumental”.

As such, the company is encouraging the hospitality industry not to delay in introducing stricter coronavirus measures – supported with formalised systems and processes and regular monitoring.

Ken Smith, UK chief executive at Bureau Veritas UK, said: “In recent weeks, there’s been much public debate and confusion on the lack of consistency in introducing, maintaining and enforcing Covid-secure measures such as social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and hand hygiene.

“From workplaces and schools, through to shops, restaurants and bars, and hotels – Boris Johnson has sought to provide clarity to consumers and businesses alike by making it a legal requirement for certain sectors to adhere to the Covid-secure measures announced in May.

“The move is monumental and shows that the Government is serious about businesses going further in helping to tackle the spread of coronavirus. As experts in helping businesses become Covid-secure, our advice is clear – firms should heed the warning, tighten up their procedures and processes, introduce stricter measures and monitoring if necessary, otherwise they risk being fined.”