Pubs and restaurants across England are preparing to open their doors to the public on Saturday 4 July, after being closed during lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.
However, heading to the pub this weekend won’t be the same experience as it was pre-lockdown. As well as observing social distancing measures and hygiene rules, you’ll also be expected to provide personal details before enjoying a pint.
This is everything you need to know about the questions that pubs and restaurants will have to ask you - and how they help to contain the spread of the virus.
What questions will you have to answer?
New guidelines that have been published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) ask venues such as pubs, restaurants, cinemas and more to support the NHS Test and Trace service by keeping a record of their staff, customers and other visitors.
For customers and visitors, this will mean that you will have to provide your name, a contact phone number and the date of your visit, arrival time and departure time (where possible). Groups can nominate a “lead member” to provide these details.
Businesses will also need to collect staff details, including the names of employees, a contact number and the date and times for when that member of staff is at work. It should also be noted which member of staff interacts with a specific customer, or group of customers.
Providing these details is entirely voluntary, but customers and visitors are encouraged to comply in order to support the NHS Test and Trace system.
Why are businesses asking these questions?
A statement released by the government explains that, by maintaining records of things like staff, customers and visitors, and sharing these records with NHS Test and Trace when requested, organisations can help identify those who may have been exposed to the virus.
This information will help to contain outbreaks before they occur. It is explained that containing outbreaks early is “crucial” to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“This will help to avoid the reintroduction of lockdown measures and support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life,” the statement from DHSC said.
Executive chair of NHS Test and Trace, Baroness Dido Harding, said, “The virus is not gone, but we can live more safely alongside it. As we all start to visit more places and come into contact with a wider group of people in the coming weeks, we now need businesses and the public to play their part in this new national effort by sharing their contact details.
“That way, if someone does test positive, our dedicated team at NHS Test and Trace can quickly spring into action to contact those who may be at risk and advise them to self isolate, helping everyone stay safe.”
The government explained that the details that visitors share must be stored securely, and handled in line with GDPR regulations.
The details will be held for for 21 days, as this reflects the incubation period for Covid-19 (which can be up for 14 days), and an additional seven days to allow time for testing and tracing. After 21 days, the information will be securely disposed of.
Which venues will ask these questions?
The government released a list of locations which are being encouraged to collect details of staff and visitors - these locations are:
- Hospitality venues, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes
- Tourism and leisure venues, like hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
- Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
- Facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
- Places of worship, including use for events and community activities
It is explained that this guidance applies to “any establishment that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises”.