The COVID-19-related reopening measure, which goes into effect on July 4, is already being used in places like New Zealand.

By Mike Pomranz
June 23, 2020
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Today, British prime minister Boris Johnson announced that England will finally allow pubs to reopen for limited service starting July 4—but beer-loving Brits may want to get a pen handy. As was hinted at over the weekend, the easing of restrictions will come with new guidelines requiring watering holes to collect the name and contact details of everyone who enters. Just one more reason to go to your local: They already know who you are.

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“I can tell the House [of Commons] that we will also reopen restaurants and pubs,” Johnson stated about 15 minutes into his address. Following an audible cheer of “Hallelujah” in the background, the prime minister continued, “All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service, and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact. We will ask businesses to help [the national healthcare system’s] NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreak by collecting contact details from customers as happens in other countries, and we will work with the sector to make this manageable. “

Speaking with Sky News on Sunday, U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock pointed specifically to New Zealand as a country where similar registration measures are taking place. According to The Times, the island nation requires hospitality venues to keep a COVID-19 “guest register” that includes not only the date and time of entry, but also a guest’s full name, address, phone number, and email address.

Hancock described registering as one of the “things you can put in place to strengthen test and trace because the whole approach is to move as much as safely possible from a national lockdown towards targeted local action when we see an outbreak.” Among other new rules, guests at pubs will also be asked to maintain a distance of at least one meter from members of other households, a reduction of the previous two-meter rule.

But how exactly pubs will handle this contact details collection duty—especially during the initial surge they will inevitably see as patrons swarm to pubs after 15 weeks of closure on Saturday, July 4—isn’t clear. Johnson’s speech also didn’t offer up any details on how the government plans to “make this manageable.” The full guidance is expected to be released later today. As of this writing, the prime minister’s statement had been posted to the Gov.uk website; however, the new COVID Secure guidelines were not yet available.