Buried in the 34-page Government rulebook for pubs and restaurants reopening on 4th July is a requirement to collect contact details for everyone present. This is quite significant as, in the event of an outbreak, government contact tracers will have to be in touch with everyone present.
But talking today to Peter Borg-Neal, founder and CEO of a 28-strong pub group in the home counties, it quickly became clear that, with only a week to go, there are more questions than answers on this point.
There’s no government system or app, no guidance as to how to verify identities (as Mr Borg-Neal told me, if someone gives Mickey Mouse, Florida, as their details he’ll have to accept it), and no-one seems to have thought about the Data Protection aspects. Technically speaking, if you gather people’s contact details you have to be GDPR compliant which is a horribly onerous undertaking — will pubs be immune? Will that breach EU law? Are pubs even legally allowed to pass that information to the Government if asked? Neither Mr Borg-Neal nor I were sure.
As for the rest of the regulations — no loud music, no singing, no dancing, no napkins on tables prior to food, and so on — he was confident that for his rural pubs that wouldn’t be a problem but suggested that nightclubs and inner city pubs of the kind that London is famous for face a very bleak future unless regulations are lifted further and more financial help is offered.
Have a watch.