Will COVID-19 Regulations Kill Off the British Pub?
Many will agree that Pubs are a quintessential institution in Britain, and one which attracts millions of visitors to the country every year. But with the UK clocking in world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, the government are determined to regulate personal and group social interaction in the country, and create ever new layers of regulation – mandating personal protective equipment for hospitality workers, supposedly to protect against the dreaded “Second Wave” of a coronavirus outbreak.
Moreover, Pubs are one of the few places where people can go to meet friends, family and engage in discussion with members of their community, so this isn’t just an economic issue – it’s also a wider societal issue.
Is all of this public health red tape making business unsustainable for independent venues?
“Buried in the 34-page Government rulebook for pubs and restaurants reopening on 4th July is a requirement to collect contact details for everyone present. This is quite significant as, in the event of an outbreak, government contact tracers will have to be in touch with everyone present.
There’s no government system or app, no guidance as to how to verify identities (as Mr Borg-Neal told me, if someone gives Mickey Mouse, Florida, as their details he’ll have to accept it), and no-one seems to have thought about the Data Protection aspects. Technically speaking, if you gather people’s contact details you have to be GDPR compliant which is a horribly onerous undertaking — will pubs be immune? Will that breach EU law? Are pubs even legally allowed to pass that information to the Government if asked? Neither Mr Borg-Neal nor I were sure.
As for the rest of the regulations — no loud music, no singing, no dancing, no napkins on tables prior to food, and so on — he was confident that for his rural pubs that wouldn’t be a problem but suggested that nightclubs and inner city pubs of the kind that London is famous for face a very bleak future unless regulations are lifted further and more financial help is offered.”
Host Freddie Sayers discuss this with British publican Peter Borg-Neal, founder and CEO of a pub group managing 28 venues. Watch:
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JULY 4, 2020 BY 1 COMMENT