Up to £4k fine for contact collecting failure

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Contact tracing: pubs are legally required to take customer contact details from today (Friday 18 September).
Contact tracing: pubs are legally required to take customer contact details from today (Friday 18 September).

Related tags Coronavirus

It is a requirement for pubs and bars to ask customers for their contact information as of today (Friday 18 September), with fines of up to £4,000 for businesses that fail to comply.

Pubs must collect the contact details of any visitor to their site in new regulations to aid NHS Test and Trace should a venue be linked to a coronavirus outbreak.

These rules will be enforced by local authorities and non-compliance runs the risk of fines up to £1,000 with this rising to a maximum of £4,000 for repeat offenders.

The move sees existing guidance on taking details now a formal requirement, with many pubs already operating robust contact-collecting systems.

What information do pubs need to take?

  • Customers and visitors will need to provide their name and, if there is more than one person, record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group (maximum of six).
  • A contact phone number should be taken for the lead member of a group, date of visit and arrival and, where possible, their departure time.
  • Venues will also be required to collect the names of staff who work at the premises. A contact phone number for each member of staff and the dates and times of shifts should be recorded.
  • This information should be held securely for 21 days and then destroyed in accordance with existing data protection laws.

Pubs must also not take bookings of more than six people and should ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than six at their venue. This is after the Government moved to ban groups above this size amid rising coronavirus cases and localised restrictions in the worst-hit areas of the country.

An official QR code will soon have to be displayed in pubs so customers can check-in on the contact-tracing NHS app, which launches Thursday 24 September.

Custom QR code posters can be created and downloaded through the Government website.

Consistency essential 

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It is vital we do all we can to control the spread of the virus. Businesses have already stepped up to ensure they are supporting the NHS Test and Trace effort, and it is essential contact logs and displaying NHS QR codes are mandatory so there is consistency across the country and the public can seamlessly provide their details.

"Venues should record and maintain contact details logs for customers, visitors and staff, and they should also download an official NHS QR code poster for their premises ahead of the launch of the NHS Covid-19 app."

He added: "With cases rising, it is vital NHS Test and Trace continues to reach as many people as possible to prevent further transmission of the virus. Businesses have a duty to ensure this function is in place, and those not complying will face fines.”

New normal

The Morning Advertiser's (MA)​ managing editor Nic Robinson spoke about the new regulations on BBC Breakfast​ this morning and said customers were happy to hand over their details to pubs by now.

"Pubs are really good at adapting," he said. "It's great that it's in line now with the rest of the UK but most of the pubs out there in England took the guidance as law with only a few exceptions. So they are going to go straight into it and understand how to use it properly."

Trade associations - including UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) - have urged any publicans confused by how to correctly follow the new regulation to get in touch with them for further advice. 

Related topics Legislation

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