Test-and-trace warning for Coventry’s hospitality sector

One of the region’s leading law firms is offering free advice to help the local hospitality sector handle customer data with the new track-and-trace system.

A webinar is being held to help Coventry’s pubs, restaurants and cafes avoid the threat of a damaging coronavirus-related fine.

Since 4 July pubs, restaurants and cafes have been required to take the personal details, including as name and phone number, of every customer as part of a nationwide test-and-trace programme.

This is so that if a customer has attended a venue at the same time as someone who has later been diagnosed with coronavirus, they are then notified to self-isolate.

However, one of the the region’s leading law firms, Wright Hassall, has warned that the test-and-trace initiative places businesses at risk of breaching data protection guidelines – an offence that can run into thousands of pounds.

To help the local hospitality sector, the law firm is hosting a free online session on 4 August to reassure businesses about what they should do to avoid a fine.

The session will look at the process of capturing and retaining personal data in accordance with the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018, including how to avoid any potential data breaches, how to store information, when to use it, and how to keep it safe.

Patrick McCallum, a solicitor in Wright Hassall’s commercial team, said: “Hospitality business owners have been some of the hardest hit financially during the coronavirus lockdown, so the last thing they need as they emerge from this crisis is a hefty fine that could jeopardise their business.

“That’s why it’s important that business owners take the time to properly review their approach to handling customers’ data.

“While those businesses who were already operating an online booking system will feel minimal change, this will come as a big change for others.

“Some businesses will be tempted to use the extra data they collect on their customers to send them marketing information. 

“After all, these businesses have been unable to trade properly for months and will be keen to attract as many people as possible to help increase their cash flow and make up for the lean months of lockdown. 

“However, the laws around marketing consents – particularly when it comes to members of the public – are stringent and businesses should understand their obligations before pursuing such initiatives.”

To book a free place for the session on at 14:00 on 4 August, email events@wrighthassall.co.uk.