PUBS, restaurants and cafes are gearing up to keep records of their customers as the lockdown eases from this Saturday.

Businesses are being cautioned not to fall foul of GDPR rules as they seek to comply with new government guidance on coronavirus.

The government wants to ensure it can “track and trace” the contacts of anyone who comes down with Covid-19.

It says venues “should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business”.

Mark Gracey, founder of Mark Gracey GDPR in Lytchett Matravers, recently ran a webinar on the issue for hospitality businesses.

“It looks like venues will need to record all customers' names and some form of contact detail. The government view seems to be that lots of venues will already have some kind of booking system, and there's a suggestion that those that do not should look at some kind of app-based system or other way to record the information, which has to be kept for 21 days,” he said.

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He said GDPR (General Data Protection Register) rules required the customer to be told why and how their data was being collected and what would happen to it.

“They will also need to consider challenges like what happens if a customer refuses to provide the information, or a few days later, requests the data is deleted. How does the venue deal with this and the other individual rights, let alone thinking about the security of collecting and storing the data and making sure apps or any third-party systems they're using are GDPR compliant?”

Andy Lennox, who founded the Ashley Cross restaurant Zim Braai and started the industry group Wonky Table, has helped fund a locally produced app called Capp. It is designed to manage capacity in venues and store customers' data securely when they scan a QR code with their phones.

“We have to be able to track and trace and we have to have capacity management – that might be a bloke clicking people in and out. You have to know how many people are in your venue at any one time. Capp has been developed for that reason,” he said.

Mark Cribb, who founded Bournemouth's Urban Guild venues, said he did not expect the issue to cause a problem. He pointed out that only two households are allowed to mix together inside.

His businesses would collect contact details from one person for each household, he said. “We’ll police it if necessary but we’ll apply a reasonably light touch,” he said.