NEW test and trace rules for pubs mean that EVERYONE over 16 has to sign in.
UK pub industry reps have today accused the Government of “stealthy backsliding on pub reopening rules”.
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The new rule – for when boozers open up their gardens for the first time in months on April 12 – means every single customer must now sign in on entry.
Also, pubs might not be able to take payment inside, according to trade bodies UKHospitality (UKH), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeepers (BII).
They’ve written to Boris Johnson over fears that landlords will be hit with “an inability to not able to take payments indoors at reopening”.
The shift is part of “a triple whammy for hard-pressed publicans who have been forcibly closed for months,” they complained.
“It now seems the hospitality industry could be burdened with vaccine passports, and over-complicated test and trace rules.
“This could prevent millions of young people visiting the pub for months, unless they get themselves tested in advance,” the group added.
They’ve hit out after the Government “announced that all customers will need to sign into the pub on entry, rather than just one member of the group as was previously the case.
“This will add more confusion and inconvenience for customers and staff.”
In a press release, they said: “Despite the ‘cautious’ approach to restarting the economy the industry had been relieved to hear that all restrictions would be removed by June 21st.
“The review into Covid Status Certification, led by Michael Gove, looks likely to recommend that pubs and other hospitality venues must demand immunity proof from people, to allow them to enter – with the threat of fines for venues if non-compliant.
This will add more confusion and inconvenience for customers and staff.
“For reopening on April 12th, for outdoor services only, the Government has refused to confirm that payment at the bar will be permitted.
“This means that customers returning to their local may be unable to make payment in outdoor spaces.
“This will be an even bigger problem for rural pubs with poor connectivity levels, yet it is deemed safe to take payment inside in all shops and in non-licensed cafes and other venues from this point.”
In a joint statement, the pub reps said: “Government has promised the country that we will be reopening, but we are now being told that this will be with our hands tied behind our backs.
“Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and Covid-secure measures in place.
“Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses.”
When pubgoers returned to their local boozers in July 2020, they were told that bars and restaurants would have to keep a record of everyone who visited for 21 days.
A guest register was kept by landlords and managers to help track and trace coronavirus outbreaks.
Back then, the guidance on how businesses could reopen safely told pub and restaurant owners: “You should assist (NHS Test and Trace) by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days in a way that is manageable for your business.”
Businesses were told they would also need to assist the contact tracing service with requests for the information if asked.
The guidance added in 2020: “This could could help contain clusters or outbreaks.”
Today’s reopening complaints from the pub reps comes days after The Sun revealed that thousands more pubs will be able to open this month, after ministers tore up rules so gazebos and marquees can go up without planning permission.
Town halls have also been ordered to let bars and restaurants spill out on to pavements for a booming al-fresco April from the 12th.
Whitehall figures suggest the bonfire of red tape will allow 9,000 additional venues to open this month – rather than having to wait for indoor serving in May.
Restaurants and pubs in England will be able to serve customers in outdoor seating areas from April 12 in phase two of the lockdown easing.
They will then be given the green light to offer indoor seating from May 17, providing specific Covid conditions are met.
Thousands of punters have already booked slots in their locals but one said he called 20 pubs but “none have any space whatsoever”.
Fuller’s – which will reopen 183 pubs from this month – said it is seeing a “high level of bookings”.
A spokesperson from the pub chain told The Sun: “People clearly can’t wait to get back to the pub, which is great to see.