Pub sector 'working incredibly hard' on contact guidance

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Serious responsibility: trade bodies have said the majority of pubs are committed to following guidance and all venues must ensure they are helping the NHS
Serious responsibility: trade bodies have said the majority of pubs are committed to following guidance and all venues must ensure they are helping the NHS

Related tags Legislation Coronavirus Bbpa

The pub sector has responded to claims many venues are not taking their role in coronavirus contact tracing seriously by arguing the majority of sites are following guidance correctly.

Industry leaders have said on the whole operators are committed to protecting public health by following the rules but urged those who do not understand the guidance to seek clarity from trade associations.

It comes after an undercover Sky News investigation into several pubs in an unnamed Greater Manchester suburb found sites were not asking or encouraging customers to give them their details. The report said nine in ten of the visited sites were not following the guidance. 

Pubs have been asked to collect and store customer details for NHS Test & Trace in the event of a confirmed case of the virus being connected to the site, though this is not mandatory. 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Publication (BBPA) said it was “extremely worrying” that some pubs had been found not following guidance yet they were a tiny minority.

Working hard

In the interview with Sky News, McClarkin said: "we take this role and responsibility incredibly seriously and we do want to ensure that compliance is high at all times and make sure that everybody understands what the guidance is and how they can adapt their businesses to that.

“The majority have been working incredibly hard to implement these [guidelines] and are doing rather well at it. Some of them have invented their own apps and QR code systems in order to adapt and fill in the gaps of the Government’s [contract tracing] app which is not up and running but we hope will be very soon.”

The BBPA has said if powers were extended where councils could shutdown premises for not taking details​ it would work with local authorities and the Local Government Association (LGA).

McClarkin added: “We want those that are not playing by the rule book to actually pick up those responsibilities and to understand what they need to do, because we don't want the minority of pubs that are not doing their contact tracing to let down the majority that are.”

Safety paramount

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said its own member survey results indicated more than nine out of ten were taking measures to record visits however the sector must comply with guidance.

She said: “Safety of customers and staff is paramount and to not comply potentially puts us at risk of a spike and another lockdown. Nobody wants that, given the awful commercial impacts of the initial lockdown.

"We need to get this right at the first time of trying and that includes implementing test and trace initiatives to keep people safe.”

“Tracing schemes are a great way to do that. Collecting and providing the information is vital to helping break the chain of transmission and controlling the virus. It takes very little time, it helps to save lives and it can help prevent further lockdowns. It also shows our team members and our customers that we are professional, proactive and caring.”

Related topics Health & safety

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