British joy over reopening of pubs muted by BoJo’s plans for owners to collect personal details

Excitement at British PM Boris Johnson’s announcement that pubs will be given the green light to reopen on July 4 has been somewhat curbed as the plans include businesses requesting customers to provide personal contact details.

Johnson’s plans for pubs to restart trading on their premises was met with cheers by many lawmakers in parliament, but details on the conditions attached to the reopening reveal it will be anything but business as usual for owners and customers – particularly concerning personal data.

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Johnson revealed that further relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown measures would allow many businesses within the hospitality and leisure sectors – such as pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and hairdressers – to reopen on July 4, as long as social distancing measures were implemented.

The PM said that hospitality firms operating indoors “will be limited to table service,” before he then laid out proposals that could prove controversial for many Britons – gathering patrons’ contact information.

We will ask businesses to help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers as happens in other countries and we will work with the sector to make this manageable.

The prospect of people having to hand over their personal contact details to businesses set alarm bells going on social media. One commenter asked “What happens with the customer data?” while another person suggested that attempts by firms to abide by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could prove a “disaster.”

Others joked that married people “who are ‘playing away” may not be forthcoming with providing “contact details to publicans or restaurants.” Some fear the latest coronavirus measures were an attempt to ‘normalize’ lockdown and predicted that social distancing will be “scrapped only for those who can prove immunity. The rest will be treated as a danger to society.”

While taking questions from lawmakers on his statement, Johnson agreed with a Tory MP that it was people’s “patriotic duty” to go to the pub once they have reopened.

The biggest change announced by the prime minister was the softening of the two-meter rule, which will now come down to “one meter-plus,” to allow more sectors of the economy to open up. Skeptics of the two-meter social distancing rule say it doesn’t take into account the difference between indoor and outdoor settings for the transmission of the virus.

Elsewhere, two households of any size will also be allowed to meet indoors (and stay overnight) or outdoors, while adhering to social distancing and with no limit to the number of people.

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