Yesterday we published a news item from the GMB union where they accused the House of Commons of not following Government guidelines relating to Covid-19 and catering for workplaces.
Earlier today we received a request from the House of Commons asking us to publish the response below from a House of Commons Spokesperson.
We are happy to do so to present a balanced view.
“As a Covid- secure workplace, we are ensuring that we have a comprehensive set of measures in place to enable Parliament to continue to fulfil its constitutional duties during an unprecedented time. Following the latest government announcement regarding the hospitality sector, we have reviewed our current measures relating to our catering outlets.
“From the 6th July, the sale of alcohol in certain outlets will resume, with table service and additional seating areas, as per the government guidelines. A limited food offer is available in various outlets across the estate and social distancing and good hygiene measures are in place. Proportionate and pragmatic control measures have been introduced for staff and customers so that all refreshments can be served in a Covid-secure manner.”
- The Members’ Tea Room, Members’ Dining Room, Terrace Cafeteria, Debate and the Despatch box will be open to provide food.
- Alcohol will be available in the Pugin Room (Strangers Dining Room as an overflow seating area), Members’ Tea Room, Members’ Dining Room.
- The Adjournment will also have a limited selection of alcohol available in the evenings for all passholders. While drinks will be collected from a dispense point in The Adjournment, customers must be seated at a table to drink them, in line with Government guidance.
- Enhanced cleaning regimes have been introduced for areas of high congregation, frequent touch points including dining room tables and chairs, goods receiving areas and counter tops, which are cleaned and disinfected regularly. All catering outlets have gone cashless to limit the touch points between staff and customers. Parliament’s catering outlets continue to operate in complete compliance with Government recommendations, with ongoing guidance from Public Health England.
- Arrangements for track and trace are already in place should they be required. We will not be collecting the details of those using these venues, as there is no public access to them. All customers are therefore ‘known’ to us and if required we can access their contact details through other means.
We would like to thank House of Commons for their response and adding clarity to their workplace catering policy.
Statement on workplace catering and hospitality from House of Commons – 8 July 2020 – Statement on workplace catering and hospitality from House of Commons