Pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and many other hospitality venues in England will have to actively support the Test and Trace system from 24 September and enforce both the ‘rule of six’ and social distancing under new legislation.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020 has been introduced and apply to premises in England only, creating two new responsibilities
Test and Trace
Venues must obtain certain details relating to Test and Trace for anyone who wants to come onto the premises, unless that person is under 16 or has a mental or physical disability that prevents them from doing so. This will include customers, staff members and visitors, subject to a number of exemptions, such as a constable or police community support officer or an emergency responder acting in the course of their duty. There are also exemptions in respect of visitors who simply make deliveries.
From 24 September, a wide range of premises must display an NHS QR code poster at their entrance, or at the point of service, for individuals to scan upon entry to the premises. Venues must not make the specific use of the NHS QR code a precondition of entry, as the individual has the right to choose to provide their contact details if they prefer. If people do choose to use the QR code, their details need not be taken any other way – venues should not ask them to do both. However, should someone choose to check in with the official NHS QR poster, a venue should check their phone screen to ensure they have successfully done so.
The NHS QR code poster is available from: https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster
The following details should be recorded and kept for 21 days:-
- name of person; if there is more than one person, then record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group (of up to six people) and the number of people in that group
- telephone number
- e-mail address if the individual is unable to provide a telephone number
- postal address if the individual is unable to provide either a telephone or email address
- date and time of entry.
Separate rules apply to groups – either request each member of the group provide those details or that one member provide the details for all members of the group.
All designated venues must also keep a record of all staff working on the premises on a given day, the time of their shift, and their contact details. This covers anyone providing a service or activity including volunteers.
Requirement to refuse entry
Venues should take all reasonable steps to prevent access to anyone who refuses to provide the requisite details. This also applies where the information provided is incomplete or is thought to be inaccurate.
There are penalties for breach of the regulations, including a power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices. The amount of the first fixed penalty is £1,000, reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days of a notice being issued; the second fixed penalty is £2,000, third fixed penalty £3,000, and the fourth and any subsequent fixed penalty is £4,000.
In addition to maintaining and sharing records where requested and displaying an official NHS QR poster, premises must also continue to follow other government guidance to minimise the transmission of Covid-19. This includes maintaining a safe working environment and following social distancing guidelines.
Premises managers are responsible for ensuring that customers follow the rules on social distancing. They must take all reasonable measures to ensure that:-
- no bookings for a table are accepted for a group of more than six people unless one of the exemptions applies
- no one is admitted to the premises in a group of more than six, unless one of the exemptions applies
- no one in one group mingles with anyone from another group
- an appropriate distance is maintained between tables occupied by different qualifying groups.
The regulations define an “appropriate distance” between tables of at least two metres, or at least one metre, if:
- there are barriers or screens between tables
- the tables are arranged with back to back seating, or otherwise arranged to ensure that persons sitting at one table do not face any person sitting at another table at a distance of less than two metres
- other measures are taken to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus between people sitting at different tables.