Every Customer to Sign in When Outdoor Hospitality Reopens in England

April 2, 2021 Updated: April 2, 2021

When bars and restaurants in England reopen outdoors on April 12, they are required to ask every visitor aged 16 and over to sign in, among other rules.

Hospitality trade bodies said the industry is “dismayed” at the reopening restrictions.

Venues will be required to ask all customers and visitors to provide their names and contact details, either by using the NHS COVID-19 app, scanning a NHS QR code poster, or give them to the venue, which is required to keep the details for 21 days in case they are required by the NHS test and trace programme.

“Any business that is found not to be compliant with these requirements will be subject to financial penalties,” the government’s guidelines read.

“It is vital that you comply with these requirements to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open,” it added.

Before all hospitality businesses were ordered to shut down last year, only one person needed to sign in for each group of customers.

Representative bodies of the hospitality industry said that the new rule “will add more confusion and inconvenience for customers and staff.”

The government has also refused to confirm that payment at the bar will be permitted, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

The trade body said that not being able to take payments indoors will be “an even bigger problem” for rural pubs, where connectivity is not reliable.

The BBPA suggested that the rule doesn’t make sense, because “it is deemed safe to take payment inside in all shops and in non-licensed cafes and other venues from this point.”

COVID-status certification, another possible measure currently under review, which “looks likely to recommend that pubs and other hospitality venues must demand immunity proof from people, to allow them to enter,” could prevent millions from visiting pubs, the BBPA said.

In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the BBPA, UKHospitality, and the British Institute of Innkeepers said the rules mean that the industry will be reopening with their hands tied behind their backs.

“Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and COVID-secure measures in place,” the statement reads.

“Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses.”

The representative bodies said the sector would rather trade its way back to prosperity than have to rely on state handouts, but it will need more handouts if the government keeps the restrictions in place.

A government spokesperson said that public health rules are kept under constant review.

“We are providing as much flexibility for pubs and other hospitality businesses as possible,” the spokesperson said.

“The roadmap set out that hospitality would open from step two, and removed any requirements for curfews or a substantial meal for customers.”

The ongoing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus lockdown in England began in early January, when the government said a more transmissible CCP virus variant was spreading rapidly in the country.

On Feb. 22, Johnson announced the government’s lockdown exit roadmap. As the first step under the plan, schools reopened on March 8 to all pupils.

Non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality will reopen on April 12, and from May 17, pubs and restaurants can open indoors, and cinemas and hotels will also reopen.

If all goes well, all legal limits on social contact will possibly be removed from June 21 at the earliest, according to the roadmap.

Alexander Zhang contributed to this report.