Covid 19 - New Guidance including Track & Trace detail

29 Mar

As we hit the natty named step of 1b today with people being permitted to meeting outside in groups of upto six or 2 households which may comprise of more than 6 persons we have seen a flurry of activity on the website.

This morning Guidance updates and new Guidance has been issued on various subjects.

The first and perhaps the one at the front of peoples minds for the 12th April outside opening of hospitality is in relation to Track and Trace.

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

The Guidance confirms that to manage the risk of transmission, establishments in the following sectors, whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings, must request contact details from staff, customers and visitors, and display the official NHS QR code poster:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • community centres, libraries and village halls

A full list of organisations within scope in these sectors can be found in annex A of the Guidance.

The Guidance continues to clarify the requirement applies to any establishment that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises. It does not apply where services are taken off site immediately, for example, a food or drink outlet which only provides takeaways. If a business offers a mixture of a sit-in and takeaway service, contact information only needs to be sought for customers who are dining in.

Compared to previous guidance on the use of Track and Trace the obligations for securing the compliance are clearer. The document states:

“This could be asked for at the counter, rather than the point of entry, when servers can more easily ask the customer whether they are dining in or taking away.
If you have multiple points of entry you will need to ensure that you have a system that meets the legal requirements. This may mean adapting the way that customers and visitors circulate in your premises.”

An interesting approach has been adopted for cinemas:

“Food and drink sold in cinemas will be considered a takeaway service, and there is no requirement to refuse custom to people who do not provide their contact details or check in with the NHS QR code.”

The Guidance also addresses areas with multiple users stating:

"If your business operates within a food court, where food and/or drink is sold and consumed solely in communal dining areas, then you as an individual business owner within the food court are not required to collect details of customers, visitors and staff. However, the legal owner of the wider venue is required to collect visitor details at a designated entrance to the food court. Where an outlet has their own seating area, the legal owner of that outlet is responsible."

The Guidance is explicit on the need to ensure that the customer’s data is secured it states as follows:

"Venues must ask every customer and visitor (over the age of 16) for the following details (unless they have ‘checked in’ using the NHS COVID-19 app):

  • the name of the customer or visitor
  • a contact phone number for each customer or visitor. If a phone number is not available, you should ask for their email address instead, or if neither are available, then postal address
  • date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time
  • the name of the assigned staff member, if a customer or visitor will interact with only one member of staff (for example, a hairdresser). This should be recorded alongside the name of the customer or visitor.

Recording both arrival and departure times (or estimated departure times) will help reduce the number of customers or staff needing to be contacted by NHS Test and Trace. We recognise, however, that recording departure times will not always be practicable and this is not required by law.

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. Venues must keep these records of staff, but staff can choose to check in using the NHS QR code poster in addition, if they wish.

No additional data should be collected for this purpose.

In England, you do not have to request details from people who check in with the official NHS QR code poster, and venues should not ask people to do both. 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). Should someone choose to check in with the official NHS QR code poster, a venue should check their phone screen to ensure they have successfully checked in."

Additionally, we have updated guidance on:

Reopening businesses and venues in England

Closing certain businesses and venues in England

COVID-19 restrictions posters: 29 March 2021

Law correct at the date of publication.
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