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As the UK comes out of lockdown, social distancing measures are likely to remain in place for many months to come.

This is especially true in enclosed areas where people from different households meet - such as pubs, bars and restaurants.

We have already seen the two-metre rule reduced to 'one metre plus', which allows individuals to come closer together if other mitigation measures are used.

For bars and pubs, booth seating offers one way to achieve the seemingly impossible goal of bringing people together while keeping them apart.

If you serve American-inspired food like burgers and hot dogs, consider our American Diner Bench as an easy way to create a distinctive visual while adding socially distant seating to your bar.

Why booth seating?

Booth seating automatically achieves some of the requirements of good social distancing in pubs and bars.

For example, it clearly defines seating areas, allowing you to ensure different groups of customers stay more than the minimum distance apart.

It's difficult for customers to move, so there's less risk of people putting themselves where they shouldn't be, but it can be reconfigured by the owner or manager to adjust to any future changes in social distancing rules.

And it's easy to clean - booth seating tends to have large, flat surfaces, so the whole booth can be sanitised after each group of customers leaves, ready for whoever comes next.

Our Berwick Buttoned Back Bench is a great example of this, with a faux leather finish that can be sanitised in seconds and dries quickly.

Booth seating plus

There are additional measures you can take to improve COVID-safety in booths even further.

A physical barrier between booths is one way to do this. It could be an opaque screen, or a clear plastic barrier like those used in banks and supermarkets.

You might choose to provide alcohol hand gel so customers can regularly clean their hands - remember, it's likely you'll need to control how many people can use your toilets at any one time, which reduces the opportunity for people to wash their hands with soap and water.

And you could ask people to avoid facing each other directly over the table. Booth seating already does this well between different groups, as it's naturally inward facing.

Free-standing bench seating

Our free-standing bench seating means you can easily define booth seating areas, but reposition benches as necessary when social distancing rules change.

This is also ideal if you take group bookings, as individuals from the same household (or support bubble) can sit closer together than those from different homes.

In addition to our American Diner Bench seating mentioned above, we also have American Diner Two-Seater Chairs in traditional red and cream faux leather, or in black and white.

Having some of these on-hand is a great idea as they're a little easier to move, so your booth layout is even more flexible and ready to adapt to different bookings without putting social distancing at risk during other opening times.

Folding tables and stacking chairs are commonly seen at conferences, weddings, banquets and other events where the furniture plan is only temporary.

They can be set up quickly and cleared away even more quickly, for example to make room for evening entertainment or dancing.

Folding tables store away easily even in small storerooms, as the trestle table top folds flat against the legs.

Equally, stacking chairs take up very little room in storage, as their stackable design means they sit snugly on top of each other.

Here are some examples of folding furniture that makes great banquet, wedding or conference furniture.

Stacking tables

Square and rectangular stacking tables don't fold - they stack. But the principle is the same, and allows a larger number of tables to be transported and stored more easily.

They have the appearance of normal tables complete with fixed-position legs, so they can make a good choice if you need to leave the tables visible rather than covering them with a floor-length tablecloth.

Folding trestle tables

Trestle tables can have a wood or plastic top, and are usually rectangular in shape with folding legs that lock into place.

Folding trestle tables offer sturdy support once erected, with the convenience of folding away into a very small amount of space.

They can also be quite large in surface area, so they make an excellent option for banqueting furniture when you need to seat large groups of people at single tables.

Banqueting tables

Banqueting tables are usually round and are a popular choice for wedding furniture, usually hidden under a long tablecloth.

They can be used with banqueting chairs for a luxurious look, either using the aesthetic of the chairs' own metal and bright upholstery, or using seat covers to achieve a specific look.

Stacking chairs

Many banqueting chairs of the type mentioned above are also stacking chairs, allowing them to be stored away in tall stacks with minimal floor footprint area needed.

The safe number of chairs you can stack depends on the model of chair, but it's usually possible to store a good number of stacking chairs on the one same spot.

It's also handy to have a small stack of chairs out where people can grab one if they need to, if it's appropriate to do so at your event.

You might be surprised to learn that stacking chairs can have arms - for example, our Buckingham aluminium stacking chairs include padded arms yet still stack snugly up to ten chairs high.

Chair and table trolleys

Last but by no means least, don't forget to invest in a stacking chair trolley or a trestle table trolley to safely and easily move your furniture around your venue.

Chair trolleys have two wheels - just roll in under a stack of chairs, tilt the trolley back onto its wheels, and away you go in an instant.

Trestle table trolleys roll flat on four wheels, and you just stack your banqueting tables on top, folded flat, before pushing the trolley to wherever you need it.

You can also get round table trolleys. Round folding tables are carried on their side, with a padded trolley base to protect their edges and a containing cage to keep them safely upright as you transport them into place.

Finding ways to maintain social distancing in the hospitality industry is a challenge facing business owners across the country and indeed across the world. As restaurants and bars start to think about what reopening might look like and plan for the future, they are considering how social distancing measures will change the way they operate.

With talk of reduced capacity, minimum distances between tables, contactless ordering and face masks for staff, it is true that things will be different but that doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t possible to both implement the new rules and get customers through the doors and resume trading.

It is still difficult to know exactly what will be required within the government guidelines but there are some simple steps that can be taken as you start to plan for trading again under the new social distancing guidance expected from the government;

1. Increase Outdoor Capacity

With the likeness of reduced capacity forming part of the new guidelines, creating additional capacity outdoors could mean more customers at your venue. Offering outdoor dining and seating in a garden or patio helps to ensure you can maintain the recommended social distance between customers. With being outside thought to have less risk, it’s possible that outdoor areas could reopen before indoors so make sure you have a system in pace for table service in your outdoor area. This will help to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distancing.

2. Reconfigure your furniture layout

Be clever with your table spacing. More space required between tables is an inevitable requirement of the new guidelines so consider your current layout and think about how this can be achieved. Smaller tables can help to increase the distance and keep customers further apart.

When positioning your tables think about staff and customer movement around the bar or restaurant as well. Clear walkways and room for staff to approach tables and to avoid bottlenecks will need to be planned and implemented.

3. Take Table Bookings

Taking table bookings will help to reduce potential queues and minimise proximity and contact between customers and staff so have a system in place for customers to book in advance so that they can be seated quickly and efficiently on arrival and ensure you don’t exceed recommended capacity.

4. Minimise Contact

Taking orders via an app, contactless card payments and scheduling shift patterns so that staff are working within the same teams every shift are all steps that can be taken to minimise contact. Having an app or mobile friendly version of your menu avoids the need for traditional menus to be circulating between customers so that they can view it on their own phones or tablets instead. If you don’t already, consider getting set up to accept contactless card payments or apple pay so that exchanging of cards and cash is reduced.

5. Ramp up your cleaning schedule

Although the government hasn’t yet issued the formal guidance, its possible that staff may be required to wear masks or gloves when serving customers so its worth preparing for if this is the case. Set up additional cleaning stations stocked with essential antibacterial products and cleaning equipment so that tables, chairs and surrounding areas can be sanitised efficiently in between customers. Set up sanitising locations with hand sanitiser and gloves around your bar or restaurant, as well as at entrances.

At this point it is still uncertain exactly what will be required of businesses so these are just suggestions that might help you to adapt to the new guidelines and its certainly worth starting to prepare for the reopening of your restaurant or bar.

If you are looking for new furniture to help assist with reopening under the governments social distancing guidelines, at Trent Furniture we have a huge range of tables and chairs in stock for fast delivery. If you would like to speak to us about an order please call the sales team on 0116 286 4911.

When the hospitality sector starts to open back up, businesses will need to be ready to operate in a 'COVID-secure' way complete with a social distancing furniture layout. 

This poses new challenges to the industry, as making the best use of the space you have available can take more than just moving your current tables and chairs two metres apart. 

You might want to invest in furniture that uses the space more efficiently, as you need to be confident that customers will remain far enough apart not only when they first arrive, but throughout their stay. 

Here are a few examples of sensible social distancing furniture for hospitality businesses to help you make your premises COVID-secure. 

Outdoor furniture 

The virus that causes COVID-19 disperses much more easily in the open air, reducing the risk of transmission, so outdoor furniture has a natural advantage to keep customers safe. 

Although it's not yet known for certain how long this coronavirus can survive on different surfaces, it appears to last 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel, and less - perhaps 2-8 hours - on aluminium. 

Monaco Stacking Chair

While you'll need to clean furniture regularly as part of your COVID-19 precautions, you could consider options like our Monaco stacking chair and Rossa stacking table, both made out of aluminium, to reduce the risk of any virus cells surviving on surfaces for very long. 

Plastic and stainless steel furniture are also sensible options, as although the virus appears to survive for longer on those than it does on aluminium, they still perform better than some other materials. 

Diner furniture 

American Diner furniture has been around since long before the current coronavirus outbreak, but it is a naturally good fit as part of a social distancing furniture layout. 

Diner benches and two-seater chairs can be used to define seating areas, and customers are less likely to try to move them around. 

The materials used - stainless steel frames and faux leather upholstery - are also very easy to keep clean and will withstand regular cleaning with disinfectant. 

You could consider separating booths with partitions or clear Perspex screens - these provide a physical barrier to prevent the virus from passing to the neighbouring table and can work well alongside other social distancing measures. 

Stacking chairs and tables 

On a practical note, stacking chairs and tables give you the flexibility you might need in the coming months when it comes to reconfiguring your interior layout at short notice. 

Stacking chairs can be cleared away to create more social distance between groups of customers, and brought out in the future as conditions start to improve further. 


Red diner chair

Zebrano stacking chairs are stylish, contemporary and ergonomic, while Roma stacking chairs can be stored up to 10 high, making excellent use of your storage space. 

Finally, our square stacking tables and rectangular stacking tables are available in a range of wood effects, but are made of melamine, which can be kept clean by wiping it regularly with sanitiser spray as part of your new COVID-secure cleaning and hygiene regime.


The British public love the great outdoors, so in preparation for the months to come, it's well worth adding some new outdoor bar stools to your pub furniture.

With outdoor stools on hand, you're ready to add to your seating during sunny spells or when you expect a rise in custom due to major sports events or live entertainment.

Outdoor garden bar stools make best use of exterior areas that might otherwise go to waste, ranging from pavement-side terraces at the front of your premises, to secluded beer gardens at the rear.

Any exterior space can be made profitable, and even if you cannot serve food or drink to your outdoor areas for licensing reasons, you can still create a sheltered smoking area with just a few outdoor stools.

Why choose outdoor bar stools?

Outdoor stools are designed to cope with the weather conditions they might face - so even if you plan to bring them indoors overnight, you don't need to panic in the event of a sudden summertime downpour.

Outdoor aluminium bar stool For example, we have tall aluminium bar stools with a seat height of around 80cm, perfect for positioning alongside outdoor poseur tables, and constructed from durable pressed aluminium with fully welded joints and good all-round water resistance.

It's important for outdoor bar furniture to be rigid and sturdy, and on our Monaco Tall Aluminium Bar Stool this is achieved subtly, with two strengthening bars at the rear and a reinforced front footrest for even more strength.

Where to use outdoor garden stools

As mentioned above, outdoor stools are ideal for smoking areas, informal terrace areas for dining, enclosed beer gardens and other exterior locations.

In secure locations like fully enclosed beer gardens, outdoor bar stools can be left out overnight during relatively calm conditions, although you might want to take them indoors if bad weather is forecast.

Thanks to the use of lightweight but durable materials like aluminium, this is even easier - just carry your stools inside one at a time or take several in one trip using a chair trolley to avoid much of the lifting completely.

Arrange to view our outdoor stools

If you would like to arrange to view our outdoor bar stools, please let us know and we can schedule a visit to our showroom (currently by appointment only during social distancing measures).

We have plenty of outdoor stools in stock and ready to deliver, and we welcome all enquiries including via telephone and email, if you have any questions you'd like answered.

You are also welcome to place an order with a delayed delivery date, for example if you are not yet ready to reopen following a temporary closure, or if refurbishment work has not yet reached the stage of adding furniture.

Just let us know and we can hold the relevant stock for you, so that your outdoor garden bar stools are ready for you whenever you want to take delivery of them.

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