“Tracing schemes are a great way of keeping people safe. Collecting and providing the information is vital to helping break the chain of transmission and controlling the virus. It takes very little time, it helps to save lives and it can help prevent further lockdowns. It also shows professionalism, proaction and care” – UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls
However, not all data collection methods have been applaud. Using pen and paper as a method for collecting customer details has been heavily criticised leading to a very important question:
How can hospitality businesses, including cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars mitigate legal and public health risks when track and tracing to take customer details for NHS Test & Trace?
The Industry brief by BBPA stated that:
“Manual collection or pen and paper is permitted, you may want to consider the hygiene consequences involved with shared pens was well as data propulsion rules that do not allow other customers to see private information”
In reality, mitigating even some of the legal and public health risks associated with the pen and paper data collection method is somewhat time-consuming and tricky to achieve. It is advised that businesses clean shared stationery between users, make hand sanitiser accessible at the point of the ‘track and trace’ service and ensure that customer details are not publicly displayed where they could be viewed by purgers. For any hospitality operator this advice reads as ‘we need to factor in the additional time it will take to complete those tasks whilst operating with lower numbers of staff’. In other words, opting for the ‘cheap’ manual option doesn’t look like a good bargain when you consider what’s at stake.
Failing to comply with GDPR and data protection rules may result in fines or even legal actions from no win to fee claims lawyers who specialise in data breaches. For example: A fine of up to 4% of annual turnover can be incurred from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), in addition to repetitional damage. This would mean a pub with a yearly turnover of £100,000 could face a fine of $4,000 for failing to meet data compliance guidelines.
There’s no doubt that the whole thing is quite daunting, especially for smaller businesses such as bars and cafes that would never normally have to collect and store customer details. Still, we must all adjust to the new situation, new post COVID-19 regulations and guidance notes to help our nation continue to reduce the rates of infection.
It’s time to evaluate the effectiveness of using pen and paper against the above risks and any other drawbacks that may arise as a result. For hospitality operators that are looking for minimum hassle and maximum protection against legal and public health risks we recommend our getWaiter! Track and Trace tool.