Wetherspoon pub criticised over failing to collect details to support NHS Test and Trace

PUBLISHED: 12:16 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:44 16 July 2020

The Queen of Iceni re-opens as lockdown restrictions are eased for pubs and restaurants. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Queen of Iceni re-opens as lockdown restrictions are eased for pubs and restaurants. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


A Norwich Wetherspoon pub has been criticised after failing to abide by a key part of the government’s reopening guidelines - collecting contact details of customers.

Complaints have been made that the Queen of Iceni was not gathering contact details of patrons using the pub - something the government has asked venues to do to aid future test and trace work.

Julia Lester contacted this newspaper after her son visited the pub on Saturday and was concerned that customers were not being asked for their details.

She said: “How would this impact any outbreak of Covid-19 in the city? This is a huge concern for public health in the city.”

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Following her complaint, a reporter visited the pub and too was not asked for contact details - even after prompting a member of staff upon leaving.

A spokesman for the chain said that while the pub’s were not legally obliged to do so, staff were being encouraged to collect the data.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “It is not a legal requirement to take the details of customers.

“However, Wetherspoon has said that it will endeavour to do so in its pubs and to date there has been good compliance.

“This shouldn’t have happened at our pub in Norwich and we will be reminding management and staff at the pub of the checking process.”

When the government announced it would allow pubs and restaurants to reopen at the beginning of this month, it came with a long list of guidelines for venues to abide by.

Part of this was urging pubs to collect contact details of their customers, along with the time they arrived and the size of their group.

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This guidance is to allow pubs to support the NHS Test and Trace service to contain outbreaks before they occur.

Announcing the guidance, Baroness Dido Harding, executive chairman of NHS Test and Trace said: “As we all start to visit more places and come into contact with a wider group of people in the coming weeks, we now need businesses and the public to play their part in this new national effort by sharing their contact details.

“That way, if someone does test positive our dedicated team at NHS Test and Trace can quickly spring into action to contact those who may be at risk and advise them to self-isolate, helping everyone stay safe.”

Are pubs in the region complying?

Anecdotally, it appears pubs in the region are largely complying with the government’s request and collating contact details.

According to members of our team who have visited pubs since they re-opened on July 4, the vast majority have been asked to provide details of at least one member of the groups they were in.

Twenty pubs have been visited by members of this newspaper’s editorial staff, with 16 requesting contact details - while four did not.

One member of the team, however, has visited three different pubs in the Norwich area and not one asked for details.

However, pubs including The Wildman on Bedford Street in Norwich, the Redwell Taproom on Bracondale and the Coach and Horses on Thorpe Road, all complied with the guidelines.

Meanwhile, Ben Stevens, of North Walsham has visited both the Queen of Iceni itself on July 4 and The Bell in Norwich this week - both Wetherspoon pubs - and said he was asked for details.

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