'No one knows how to use the NHS app'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Reopening rules: operators shared their experiences of customers being confused by how to use the NHS coronavirus app to scan into venues (image:Getty/Olivier Le Moal)
Reopening rules: operators shared their experiences of customers being confused by how to use the NHS coronavirus app to scan into venues (image:Getty/Olivier Le Moal)

Related tags: Legislation, Health and safety, Nhs, coronavirus, Health, England, Manchester, Suffolk, London

Pubgoers have been hesitant to use the NHS contact-tracing app and been reluctant to hand over their details, operators have reported.

Customers and all other visitors must leave their contact details when visiting a pub premises since beer gardens reopened on Monday 12 April in England.

Pub operators should ensure every member of a group has either left their details through using the NHS coronavirus app or by pen and paper, for potential contact-tracing by NHS Test and Trace.

While individuals can use the app to quickly scan QR code posters at venues, licensees have said many customers are confused or frustrated by the requirement.

One licensee to share the challenges of the requirement was Heath Ball, who operates the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub the Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, north London.

After reopening his doors for outdoor trade earlier this month​, he told The Morning Advertiser (MA)​: “The amount of people that don't know they have to give their details so it's difficult checking them in.

Customer confusion

“No one knows how to use the app, they try and take a photo of it like a normal QR code where it leads you to the website.

“A lot of people don't have the app, a lot of people obviously give fake names and numbers, you can see them making up numbers in their heads. You're trying to work out how to keep them all happy.”

The operator also shared his frustration about the behaviour of some pub customers on the latest edition of The MA's​ Lock In podcast.

Another operator, Elaine Wrigley, who runs the Atlas Bar in Manchester’s city centre, told The MA​ that many of her customers did not want to download the app.

"This further slows down entry and data capture," Wrigley explained.

About two thirds of customers still do not have the app, the licensee estimated.

She added: "We've had to invest in a permanent venue door security guard to support with temperature checking and booking in every customer."

Time consuming

Operators described feeling irked that pubs were held to such stringent requirements for contact-tracing while customers were not required to scan into supermarkets or non-essential shops.

Operator of Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub and former Great British Pub Awards winner Brendan Padfield of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk said the rules were one of the "downsides" of opening outside this month (April).

He explained: “The new Test and Trace regulations are very burdensome and time consuming. Many customers do not use the NHS [app] and thus checking in larger parties is particularly labour intensive.

“Too many customers look at us in disbelief when we try to explain that we are now required to record Test and Trace details for all adults and not just the lead party.

“I am bemused that we are required to go to these lengths when diners are eating outside but supermarkets and gyms record nothing. It’s illogical at best. In truth, it’s ludicrous.”

  • What has your experience been? Vote in The MA's​ Twitter poll on the subject below. 

Related topics: Health & safety

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