New national restrictions have been announced in the UK as the Covid-19 alert level moves back up to Level Four.

Key changes for the hospitality sector include: table-service only and a 10pm curfew for restaurants and bars; employees working from home where possible; face coverings required for both staff and guests indoors wherever appropriate (ie not while eating or drinking); and Covid-secure guidelines becoming legal obligations for retail, leisure and tourism.

For now, despite rumours, hotels, self-catering accommodation accommodation and attractions in the UK are not forced to shut, nor do borders need to close to international travel.

But the so-called ‘rule of six’ applies to all accommodation bookings based on the legal limit locally.

For the UK these have been set at: 6 from multiple households in England; 6 aged 12+ from two households in Scotland; 6 aged 11+ from four households in Wales; unclear in Northern Ireland.

Bookings in holiday rentals (or Airbnb-style homestays) for a group of people that exceed these limits, even if already made, are illegal and will need to be cancelled or amended, while future bookings must comply with the rules until further notice.

These same numbers apply to mixing in restaurants and bars. 

For hotel and serviced apartment stays, under the local rules, a booking of more than 6 people in one room will be illegal. If staying in separate rooms, there is no issue, other than socialising in dining areas, bars and other communal spaces, where the local ‘rule of six’ applies, and details must be taken for tracing purposes. 

Any hotels, pubs, restaurants and other venues that are found to not be complying, can be fined £1,000 and potentially shut down. 

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