Eat, drink and be safe.

As of 24th September new coronavirus restrictions are being implemented upon the hospitality sector by the government. These measures will include a hard closing time on all venues of 10 pm and mandatory table service. Many venues have already introduced measures along these lines as part of their safe opening strategy and it is important to note that the hospitality sector, nationally, has very low infection incidents, compared to other sectors.

There are still ways you can help protect our wonderful hospitality industry, that don’t all include going out, here’s our guide.

From 14 September 2020 new rules about how many people can meet have been changed in England. It’s a confusing time but we want you to enjoy dining and drinking out safely and legally while protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus. We’ve tried to simplify the rules to the best of our understanding in this guide. 

Eat at odd times

Let’s face it, all our schedules are disrupted, so let’s turn that to our advantage. By meeting, eating and drinking at odd times, you’ll ease the flow of people visiting venues. Take advantage of early weekday deals like EOTHO for September and RB20 to make Tuesday your new Thursday (which was the old Friday). Brunch is the best “floating meal” that happily spans everything from early morning coffee and pancakes to cheeky boozy get togethers in the early afternoon. Likewise, Afternoon Tea conveniently sits anywhere from midday to 5 pm.

There’s more space in the countryside so add a trip to some of Sussex’s best restaurants and idyllic country pubs to your adventures. Discover something new, get in some good fresh air with a country walk and eat wonderful food. Extra space means more peace of mind and more being able to focus on enjoying yourself.

The Royal Oak

Go alfresco

Beer gardens provide a good middle-space for those desperate to get back into their local, here’s our guide to our favourites in Brighton, Hove and beyond, and you can bet with time on their hands our publicans have been making them super lovely. With space at a premium in the city, roof terraces are an elevated outdoor escape, here are some well and less well known heavenly escapes. These restaurants and bars all have alfresco dining space, for balmy daytimes and long evening reunions.

Many of us at some point in our lives will have worked in the hospitality industry, so we know first hand how stressful it can be. A report conducted in May 2019 by Service With(out) a Smile showed that 84% of hospitality workers suffered mental health issues, and that was before a global pandemic got in on the mix! Going out can still be a bit stressful for both diners and industry workers, but everyone wants to have a nice time, that starts with being nice. 

Some venues simply will not be opening from the 4th July, there are numerous reasons for this, some laid out plainly here by Cambridgeshire restauranteur Alex Rushmer. Others will only open partially. Over the lockdown months, many venues have developed innovative ways of getting their dining experience into your home and these are likely to still make up essential revenue for them. If nothing else lockdown has changed how we think about takeaway forever.

Madame Jeniffer distillery gins

Buy local

Pick up in restaurants will take its time, the knock-on effect hits local producers who supply into the industry. By continuing to buy from these local producers growers and farm shops you’re eating well and helping protect the people who provide the people who provide you! Many businesses who were previously industry-focussed will continue with their own retail arm, buying from these producers direct makes for great gifts to send nationally; say it “From Sussex With Love”.

While venues are either operating at reduced capacity or choosing not to rush to reopen you can still help them stay afloat. Show your commitment to the future and buy a gift voucher for a friend or yourself to cash in when the time is right. This is a beautiful thing to do and goes some way in supporting your independents. We’ve pulled together a list of some that are offering vouchers to buy online here.

two laptops

Write a review

Some venues will take a while to return, and it is likely that they will face unprecedented worries about the future of their business. Show some love by writing them a review on our website and we’ll make sure they know about it. Why leave a review with us? Restaurants Brighton is a locally run business, with a small team all based locally, we directly invest back into the local economy (and we pay our taxes); the same cannot be said of some of the national and global review websites. Your input helps us compete against those big players.

Brighton Chefs Table

Make a wish list

If you’re not ready to venture into social dining then you can still plan ahead! On the Restaurants Brighton website you can create your own wish list, simply use the heart icon to save your favourites in a list ready to experience in person when you’re ready. There will be a lot of catching up to do, once the air has cleared, and doing it in an independent local bar or restaurant will help breathe much-needed resources back into the local economy.

When the government announced they were cutting VAT to 5% for the food and drink industry, some large chains announced they would be passing this onto their customers. For large chains, where cheap prices and high volume turnover is the business model, this makes sense, but for small businesses and independents, it doesn’t. The VAT reduction is a lifeline to recovery that independents cannot pass on to customers, and shouldn’t be expected to.