South Tyneside pub bosses say they have "not once" been asked to pass on track and trace data

Hospitality bosses across South Tyneside have said the national track and trace scheme “has not once” asked them to pass on or share the details of punters passing through their doors - even when it has been confirmed that residents who have tested positive for Covid have visited their venues after contracting the virus.

Saturday, 24th October 2020, 7:00 am
Armstrong Hall host a landord meeting over confused Tier rules on pub premises. Cllr Angela Hamilton (mask exemption), Cllr Dave Francis and Ziggy's bar landlord Stephen Sullivan (front)

The extraordinary disclosure was made at a meeting of hospitality bosses and councillors, where attendees discussed challenges posed to the sector by the Government’s new local lockdown tiering system, as well as enforcement of new Covid rules.

All of the dozen landlords and industry representatives present at the meeting confirmed they had, as of Friday morning, neither been contacted by the Government’s contact tracing programme nor asked to pass on relevant information to limit the spread of the virus at any point since reopening in the summer.

Kate Marchant, owner of the Armstrong Bar, said that when she has found out there have been confirmed cases in her venue she was not contacted by the NHS Trace and Trace scheme.

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She said: “I didn’t have to close, I didn't have to pass on any information, I didn’t have to do anything.”

Stephen Sullivan, owner of Ziggy’s Bar in South Shields, said: “The Trace and Trace service has not once contacted us. Track and Trace simply doesn’t exist in the hospitality sector.”

"If it’s been happening here, I’d imagine it’s likely to be happening in other parts of the country too,” he added.

Alex Chandler, owner of the Marine Bar in Ocean Road, South Shields, also said that ‘he has never been contacted’ by the Track and Trace operators.

It is thought 18 million people in the UK have signed up to the official Track and Trace app that Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised would be “world beating” in spring.

South Tyneside Councillor Angela Hamilton, who was at the meeting, said: "The Government's track and trace system is failing at all levels.

Cllr Hamilton said the track and trace would be “better delivered at a local level with local authorities”.

"People are losing their jobs, losing their homes and losing their lives as a result of the actions of this incompetent government. The people of this borough deserve better.”

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.

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