Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new rules are certainly idiosyncratic, but they will come as welcome news to a sector that is keen to get back to business.
Drinkers in England’s pubs will have to give their name before they order a pint, and there will be no live acts or standing at the bar, the government said in advice for reopening the sector next month.
Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will have to keep a record of customers for 21 days to assist the state health service’s test and trace operation, which aims to identify and contain any local flare-ups of COVID-19 and stop a second wave of infections.
Live performances, including drama, comedy and music, will also not be allowed, the government said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said that pubs, restaurants and hotels could reopen in England on July 4, easing the coronavirus lockdown that has all but shut the economy.
He also reduced social distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre in a change that will allow many more pubs and restaurants to reopen.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said that 75% of pubs in England – 28,000 in total – would be able to reopen. Under 2 metre social distancing rules, only a third of England’s pubs – 12,500 – would have been able to reopen.
“As an industry we will be doing everything we can to ensure both our customers and staff are safe in our pubs,” said BBPA Chief Executive Emma McClarkin.
“We do have significant concerns over the collection and storage of personal customer data when visiting the pub.”
The government said it was consulting on the design of a data-collection system that was in line with legislation.
“Many businesses like hairdressers and restaurants already record customer data through bookings,” said a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
“Businesses will temporarily be required to hold customer information like a person’s name and phone number so they can help the NHS Test and Trace Service if there is ever a local outbreak.”
(Reporting by Paul Sandle Editing by Alison Williams and David Goodman )
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Photo credit: Beer gardens are a go from July 4, says UK PM. Ewan Munro / Flickr