Decisions on relaxing the 2-metre distancing rule and reopening hospitality on 4 July are expected to be finalised at a meeting of the government’s Covid-19 committee today.
The committee will also be discussing the option of customers having to give their name and contact information on entry, as a means of keeping track of who has been in the establishments. This way, if someone who has been in the venue finds out they have COVID-19, they could let the the business know when they were there so that people who were there at the same time can be notified.
This method is already being used in New Zealand, where pubs and restaurants must record a guest register and carry out regular head counts to trace potential outbreaks of coronavirus.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of Health and Social Care, said:
“What would happen is you would ensure that when you take bookings, you take down contact details so that if someone tests positive and has been in that venue… you’ll be able to contact the people who might be at risk.”
There are some concerns from those who work in the industry, mainly about how they will get their customers to voluntarily give up such data, and also the potential cost of registration systems.
What do we think?
It is paramount that safety comes first in all decision making during this time, and venues should not re-open too soon. This registration option seems like a good additional safety measure, but it must be paired with appropriate social distancing rules to ensure there is little to no risk for the customers.
After today’s meeting, it is likely that the government will outline in more detail the rules that pub-owners and restaurateurs will have to ingrain into their businesses. We will keep you posted as more is announced.
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