Monday, 22 June 2020

Sign In to Get In?

If today's press stories are to be believed, it appears that the Government will finally make its mind up about pubs re-opening and the 4th of July looks as certain as can be in these uncertain times to be the day that joyous event will occur.  There will be restrictions and if we can believe what we read, it seems we'll be told tomorrow exactly what these restrictions might be. Having said that, given the record of this Government in either getting things wrong, or not fully laying out what they expect and the reasoning behind it, that might be being a tad optimistic.

Nonetheless, let's go with this for the time being. I've already covered in previous posts that most of the thinking doesn't really cover smaller pubs where any kind of distancing is a big issue when it comes to viability and indeed, practicality. Now maybe I'm being a bit unfair but when I look at the lumpen dopes that are considering this - and it will be a political not a scientific decision whatever anyone alleges - I don't feel it likely that any of them are in the habit of popping down the local for a few swift pints. Nor are any of the scientists frankly.  That makes it highly unlikely, despite the pleadings of various pub supporting groups, that they fully understand the average pub and its denizens.  I rather doubt that Hancock is poring over the BBPA or CAMRA views, or indeed any of the interest groups that "represent" drinkers and publicans, but even so, like it or lump it, he's the man we have to deal with - or is that put up with?  Doesn't bode well does it?

One thing though I have read with interest is that following - or perhaps emphasised by the uptick in Covid-19 outbreaks, particularly in Germany which has put us to shame in almost every way, is that we need to be able to trace people who have been exposed to unexpected outbreaks in a specific place. In the German case, it is at a workplace, so records will be kept - and the Germans - bless 'em like record keeping - so tracing and isolating is rather easier.  Now we have to be honest here. Pubs by their very nature, especially small ones, aren't - assuming they will be allowed to open at all - the best place to be if someone is either knowingly unwell and present, or, quite possibly, suffering from Covid-19 without showing symptoms.

One leaked proposal it seems - and I think the Bavarians already do it - is to take names, addresses and contact numbers from patrons.  While there are certainly civil liberty issues with this, and putting aside the practicalities for the moment, it seems to me that this would be a very sensible move.  I for one would be a tad easier in my mind if I knew that if I had been exposed to Covid-19 that I could be advised of it and self-isolate.

It shouldn't be that difficult for any pub to acquire a register and to make this happen. Sign in to get in? Why not? This proposal, while unwelcome - even outrageous at other times - seems to me at this point in time, to be not only wise, but necessary. 

Of  course some will be tempted to put down Mickey Mouse etc. but this should be easily dealt with. It is in nobody's interest to subvert this.

The keeping and security of such records though isn't a small thing - or rather it is - but it will still be a bone of contention I'm sure and safeguards will b needed. After all if you book at a restaurant, etc. details are handed over routinely.


Cooking Lager said...

Government ministers reading the opinions of CAMRA.
That's good that one.
I'm gonna smile and laugh at that one for good while.

Curmudgeon said...

Signing in may be acceptable for regulars, but it's a real deterrent to chance pub visits.

Tandleman said...

How so?

IrishseaDave said...

I think as I frequently articulate,it is a time for pragmatism. Signing in,as done in many clubs & other venues etc. is not a tremendous burden and is doable. We need to get things moving and a no compromise approach won't be the fastest way of doing that. Yes it will be harder in some venues,and some won't do it properly,but it isn't the end of the world. It's a new world -2nd waves and cluster issues arising in S.Korea & Germany at present,so we won't be going fully back to normal anytime soon.

Andy Cooper said...

Signing into a pub is a minor inconvenience, and if that's the price to pay for a return to the conviviality of being able to spend time in a pub with friends, quaffing a few pints of ale, so be it, its worth it. It might deter me from a bit of a crawl round town mind you, dependent on the fine detail of the signing in process, but that's a bridge I will cross when I come to it.

Tom Bley said...

Nice to see you doing your bit to usher in the Beast System.

Tandleman said...

Beast System? What's that then?

ShadowHider said...

The Devonshire Cat in Sheffield, Abbeydale's flagship pub, has just announced that they will not be reopening.

Another regular haunt gone.

Paul Bailey said...

I'm with IrishseaDave on this one. I can live with signing in, providing it's on a temporary basis, especially if it assists with the re-opening process.

What's interesting is that most major outbreaks of Covid-19, can be linked to so-called "super-spreading" events - Karneval in North-West Germany, being one example, and a certain Austrian ski-resort being another. The Liverpool-Atlético Madrid football match, plus the Cheltenham Festival are cited as examples in the UK.

Small gatherings, such as in a pub, pose far less risk because of crowd size and proximity of individuals. I have also seen some health officials say that the government's "one size fits all" approach to lock-down, was wrong. There was negligible risk posed by small shops and other similar size businesses - and I include some pubs here.

So no need to shut many of them, and no reason why they cannot reopen asap.

Jim Cullen said...

I'm with you. And actually would propose an additional idea of "booking" a table at certain establishments.

My major concern with the original idea is GDPR compliance. The data should be held "time limited". The limit being when there is a declaration that Covid is no longer an issue. Then the venue should message those on whom it held data to assure them that it has been deleted.

A faff. But a reassuring faff. And relationship enhancing.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a general acceptance that signing in is not really so bad. I can hardly believe my eyes when I see this sort of thinking. We don't sign in, when going to the supermarket etc and singling out pubs for special restrictions makes no sense.

Governments don't like pubs, they see them as dens of inequity where plots and sedition are are hatched out. I don't want pubs turning into members clubs, that is not what they are about. How long will it be before we need a government issued card to go anywhere and of course, all movements will be electronically recorded for posterity.

I will not visit any hostelry on those terms. COVID-19 is 90% scam and if people haven't yet seen through it, they simply haven't been paying attention. The threat of the virus has been blown out of all proportion and those pubs that reopen will remain in desperate trouble.

Anonymous said...

Although I don't like the idea of signing in, my bigger problem is how to get a drink once you're in. I go for a few drinks once a week with my buddy, we're both OAP's, & neither of us has or can afford an internet mobile phone. So can I go to the bar to order drinks?

qq said...

@Jim Cullen

The official government advice is :
"To support NHS Test and Trace, you should hold records for 21 days. This reflects the incubation period for COVID-19 (which can be up to 14 days) and an additional 7 days to allow time for testing and tracing. After 21 days, this information should be securely disposed of or deleted. When deleting or disposing of data, you must do so in a way that does not risk unintended access (e.g. shredding paper documents and ensuring permanent deletion of electronic files).

Records which are made and kept for other business purposes do not need to be disposed of after 21 days. The requirement to dispose of the data relates to a record that is created solely for the purpose of NHS Test and Trace. All collected data, however, must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and should not be kept for longer than is necessary."

Most pubs are not daft - they get that their biggest challenge right now is getting people across the door, and they're not going to mess about with that for the sake of a bit of data collection for marketing purposes.

@Anonymous1 - the difference between pubs and supermarkets is that a) people tend to spend longer in a pub b)in generally closer contact with other people and c) there's generally no drunk people in supermarkets who may be less aware of virus prevention. Just get over yourself - the data points to pubs being a relatively high risk environment without precautions, but that those risks can be managed by a few simple actions. Presumably you think seatbelts are an unacceptable threat to liberty as well?

@Anonymous2 - there will plenty of places, particularly smaller independent places that won't have apps, it'll just be old-school table service. The use of apps is only advisory not compulsory, and most places worth going to will recognise that some people don't have smartphones and be flexible.

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