Pub operators in the city region have come in for criticism after an undercover Sky News investigation into several pubs in an unnamed Greater Manchester suburb found that operators were not encouraging customers to give them their details for track and trace.
The broadcaster’s report said nine-in-ten of the visited sites were not following the guidance, while operators were also caught not following Government social distancing measures on hidden cameras.
However, a joint statement made on behalf of Admiral Taverns, Greene King, Hydes, Joseph Holt Brewery, JW Lees, Marston’s, Punch, Robinsons Brewery, Star Pubs & Bars and Stonegate Pub Company concerning local lockdown measures in Greater Manchester has called upon the general public to hold up their end of the bargain.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has given us all a new set of responsibilities,” the statement read. “They are responsibilities that we all take incredibly seriously and we know that we all have an important role to play in ensuring the virus is controlled in Greater Manchester and beyond.
"It is vital that the trade and all industry stakeholders continue to follow the Government guidance on measures to restrict the spread and keep venues safe. In particular we continue to support the track and trace measures in collecting customer details every time that they visit a pub wherever possible.
"We also call on the public to accept their role here too, working with pubs, bars and restaurants in following guidance put in place, respecting staff and providing their contact details in support of track and trace. It is in everyone’s best interests that we continue to act responsibly and restrict the virus wherever we can.”
As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), hospitality operators across Greater Manchester were subject to more stringent lockdown measures from midnight on 31 July in a bid to discourage people from meeting up with different households in a bid to tackle local outbreaks.
Majority let down by the minority
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who recently warned that pubs reported to authorities in for failing to enforce Covid-secure measures will be targeted by ‘mystery shoppers’, also backed the joint statement.
“I have called for the safe return of the pub and hospitality industry and I welcome the fact that the majority are complying with all the Government guidelines, but the majority are being let down by the minority who are not taking the regulations seriously,” he said. “I am happy to support the sector but we do need the whole industry to step up.”
Burnham also implored the public to continue to follow Government guidelines that he reiterated are in place to keep them safe.
“Most people are doing so, but some are not and I urge those people to think twice,” he continued. “If you get coronavirus, you may not know, and spread the infection further in your home and your community.
"We are all adjusting to a new situation, and I know it is difficult, but now is not the time to give up. We must all work to reduce the rates of infection within our city-region.”
Greater Manchester’s night-time economy advisor Sacha Lord also backed the joint message echoing that the public must play their part in helping to stop the spread of the virus.
“It is on us to respect social distancing, track and trace and all of the measures that are in place to keep us safe,” he said. “While some may feel that they aren’t in the ‘at risk’ age group, it is their family and grandparents at home who they are putting at risk and I urge them to consider that when planning a night out with large groups.
“The majority of venues are working extremely hard to keep customers and staff safe, and I thank them for that. It is only by working together that we can overcome this devastating time for the sector.”
News of the joint statement follows calls from the Local Government Association (LGA) for local authorities to be entrusted with extra power to shut pubs and other licensed premises flying in the face of Covid-19 safety guidance.
“It needs to be mandatory for premises to follow this Government safety guidance and councils need the right powers to intervene and take action if necessary,” councillor Nesil Caliskan, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, explained.
“It does not take long for this virus to spread if allowed. While councils do not want to have to shut anywhere down, business owners need to know that councils have the power to act if local communities are put at risk.”