Hospitality Sector: New Regulations to be Aware of

New regulations coming into effect for the hospitality sector in 2024 will reflect the ever-changing operational environment.

Improved hospitality laws and regulations UK-wide are set to be introduced throughout the year relating to various issues.

Hospitality Sector New Regulations to be Aware of

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One of the biggest changes will be Martyn’s Law, a key aspect of the draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill designed to protect public buildings from the threat of terrorist attacks.

There will also be new rules concerning selling alcohol, revised employee wage requirements and legislation relating to distributing tips fairly.


What is Martyn’s Law?

King Charles III confirmed the government intended to pursue the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, known as Martyn’s Law, during this Parliamentary session. He made the announcement when he addressed the nation during the King’s Speech on 7th November 2023.

If approved in its current form, the legislation will require operators of public buildings to address the possibility of a terrorist attack. This will include concert venues, sports stadiums, universities, hospitals, places of worship and other buildings where people congregate.

The operators will need to assess the risks and prepare mitigating measures to protect the public should the worst-case scenario occur.

The Bill is called Martyn’s Law in memory of Martyn Hett, who died during the horrific terrorist attack at Manchester Arena in 2017. An Altrincham public relations manager, he was only 29 when he lost his life as he watched the Ariana Grande concert at the venue on 22nd May. Seated only four metres away from the explosion, he died at the scene with 21 other men, women and children.

The new law will require venues to improve public safety and ensure the security measures are consistent across the UK to better protect people.

Depending on the size of the venue and the activity taking place; the legislation will have various tiers with different requirements, dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place.


How will Martyn’s Law impact the sector?

The standard tier will be applied to venues with a capacity of more than 100 people. Operators will have to take simple yet effective measures to ensure they are prepared for any attack including employee training, the sharing of information and completing a plan to ensure they are ready. The goal is to foster a culture of security.

One way of improving security is by installing locking doors that can quickly delay attackers’ progress through a venue. This is where automatic doors in commercial properties, such as concert venues and hotels, can help.

Unwanted entry is one of the most common security breaches of public buildings and installing an automatic door is a simple safety barrier for any commercial property. They can keep unwanted intruders out of the premises without a confrontation.

With CCTV surveillance in the doorway, they can also monitor anyone who tries to walk in or out and capture their image on film. They can lock people in, if necessary, until police arrive at the scene. An intruder can then be isolated, preventing them from causing further problems in other parts of the premises.

There’s no need to struggle to manually close a door and use a key, as the automatic doors can be locked instantly without any threat to the personnel.

Automatic doors also offer an escape route in the event of a fire and can help stop the spread of the blaze when the public have been evacuated. They can stop the smoke from spreading, while giving people time to escape.


Employee training

In addition to taking practical steps, staff training should also be organised into how to delay attackers’ progress, including how to lock the doors.

Employees should be provided with a basic knowledge of lifesaving treatments that can be administered to injured people while awaiting the emergency services.

Larger locations with a capacity of more than 800 people will be placed in an enhanced tier, where a culture of vigilance and security should be developed.

The duties of the building operator and staff would have the same safety requirements, but there would be additional actions involving security planning and risk assessments.

Although the Bill hasn’t yet been finalised and the government intends launching a public consultation exercise, there is a commitment to introduce a new “protect” duty in all public buildings.


More hospitality sector changes

As well as Martyn’s Law, stringent new requirements are being placed on licensed premises selling alcohol.

The Home Office has discussed making changes to the Licensing Act 2003 which has implications on licensees. They will have to put safeguards in place to prevent drink spiking and provide additional training for door staff to identify if a customer has been targeted.

There will be increased bureaucracy for businesses when the Employment Allocation of Tips Act 2023 becomes law on 1st July 2024. It aims to ensure tips and service charges are distributed in a fair and transparent way.

The minimum wage will increase from April to £11.44 an hour for people aged 21 and above, although the charity, Living Wage Foundation, believes it should be even higher.