Restaurant staff will no longer be required to wear masks if restrictions relax as planned

Some worry that the move could discourage diners from eating out and result in increased no-shows

Updated on 06 July 2021 • Written By Rosie Conroy

Restaurant staff will no longer be required to wear masks if restrictions relax as planned

If all restrictions are eased on the 19 July - as currently planned – restaurant staff and guests will no longer be required to wear a mask inside.

Saying that the past year has been complicated for the hospitality industry is an understatement. With various outdoor and indoor dining restrictions, fluctuating opening hours and track and trace requirements – there’s been a lot for restaurant workers to get their head around.

One of the biggest changes to enjoying a meal in a restaurant is that guests have been required to wear a mask when moving around – so when going to the bathroom or paying the bill, for instance. Staff however have had it tougher, having to wear masks for the entirety of their shifts to try to help control the spread of the virus.

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Staff have reported feeling hot and uncomfortable having to wear masks for long periods of times and have found it hard to talk to guests through them too. Francesca Echanove, a waitress at Pino and Il Portico in Kensington, told i News she was ‘relieved’ about the decision for the easing of restrictions, adding, ‘I’m very happy because masks make it so difficult to talk to customers, especially when it’s loud and busy. They’re hot and uncomfortable. I’ll be able to see people and smile again.’

Some people are more cautious, warning that if we completely remove the need to wear masks we could see another spike in the virus which in turn could result in more no-shows – a problem which the industry has faced throughout the pandemic.

Do you have to wear a mask in a restaurant?

If all goes to plan with ‘Freedom Day’ then masks will no longer be obligatory in public spaces. This means both guests dining at restaurants and hospitality staff will be able to socialise and work without wearing a mask.

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