Contact tracing to be mandatory for pubs

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Breaking news: the voluntary guidance will now be a requirement
Breaking news: the voluntary guidance will now be a requirement

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Taking customer contact details will be made a mandatory requirement for pubs and bars and venues that do not follow coronavirus guidance will be fined, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.

He outlined changes to existing coronavirus regulations in an address to the public today (Wednesday 9 September), including making participating with NHS Test and Trace mandatory.

Johnson said: "In future, premises and venues where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party, record and retain these details for 21 days and provide them to NHS Test and Trace without delay when required."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the policy change on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier in the day.

“Large swathes of the hospitality industry have followed it but some have just chosen not to, so we’re going to make that compulsory as well,” he said.

It comes after trade bodies published an open letter to businesses​ urging them to ensure adequate contract tracing to help the NHS and boost consumer confidence in hospitality.

Existing guidance on contact tracing in hospitality​ asks pubs to take down a name and number for a customer or group alongside the date of their visit and times on the premise.

Leading role

Pubs have already been participating with the initiative as one of the few sectors involved in contact-tracing, according to Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association

She said: “Our sector will continue to play a leading role in supporting test and trace and all our members and the overwhelming majority of pubs across the UK are already using the test and trace system. In fact, pubs have been commended by Matt Hancock and Public Health England for their diligence and proactivity in working with NHS test and trace in England.

Publicans not confident with the regulations and how to follow guidance correctly were encouraged to contact a trade association for further support.

“Of course, it is important to remember that pub customers have a key role to play too in following the rules, and this means fully participating with test and trace," she added.

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