Pubs reopening: Do I have to sign in to the pub on April 12? New rules spark anger

Nick Ferrari slams idea of vaccine passports in pubs

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Pubs are due to reopen in England on April 12 for outdoor service, sparking joy for many Brits who have been couped up at home throughout England’s third nationwide lockdown. But it looks like there will be a small caveat to entry – you will need to hand over your contact details before enjoying a pint in the sunshine.

Pubs and restaurants will have to record the details of every punter who enters premises, starting on April 12.

In summer, many will remember one member of the group needing to sign in on entry to a pub – but this time around, every member of a group will need to.

But new guidance states all venues must “ask every customer or visitor aged 16 and over to check in to your venue or provide their contact details.”

This can be done either via the NHS Covid-19 app or in person, by giving a member of staff your contact details.

Pubs, bars and restaurants must “take reasonable steps to refuse entry to those who refuse to check-in or provide contact details,” according to the new guidance.

Any business which is found to not be complying with the requirements will be subject to financial penalties.

Industry groups have come out against the guidance warning it could damage business even further.

Groups have said it could discourage punters from getting back into the nation’s pubs and hospitality venues, which have been closed in England since the beginning of January.

There has also been the concern surrounding so-called ‘vaccine passports’ needed for entering hospitality venues, although no such need for identification has been announced.

In a joint statement, three key industry groups – UK Hospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping – said the rules would add “more confusion and inconvenience for customers and staff”.

They said: “It now seems the hospitality industry could be burdened with vaccine passports, over-complicated test and trace rules and an inability not able to take payments indoors at reopening – a triple whammy for hard-pressed publicans who have been forcibly closed for months.”

They added: “Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and COVID-secure measures in place.

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

They also argued more financial support from the Chancellor would be necessary.

The hospitality sector has been one of the worst-hit throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of staff on furlough and having been closed for a considerable amount of the past 12 months.

In the year to February, 368,000 payroll jobs were lost in the accommodation and food service sectors.

A Government spokesperson said: “We have continued to support the hospitality sector throughout the pandemic, including our new £5bn Restart Grant scheme, extending the furlough scheme and the VAT cut, and providing 750,000 businesses in hospitality and other sectors with business rates relief.

“Public health rules are kept under constant review and we are providing as much flexibility for pubs and other hospitality businesses as possible.

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

“No final decisions have been taken on whether COVID-status certification (vaccine passports) could play a role in reopening our economy.”

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