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Pubs and bars in England are ignoring COVID-19 guidance, potentially putting public health at risk, a Sky News investigation has found.

An undercover team visited a variety of hospitality venues in one Greater Manchester suburb, posing as walk-in customers.

Nine out of 10 venues visited were not following government guidance by asking for customer contact details.

Image: An undercover team posed as walk-in customers

In two venues, social distancing was being ignored.

The investigation has led to calls for local authorities to be given greater powers to shut or take action against venues not following the guidance.

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Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham told Sky News he was "really disappointed" and warned that pubs would need to "get their houses in order".

The venues visited are in a Greater Manchester borough where COVID-19 cases are rising.

New lockdown restrictions in this area mean that customers should only be visiting pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants with others in their household or support bubbles.

Although the local authorities say they do not expect businesses to police who customers are interacting with, they do expect staff to follow guidance on collecting customer contact tracing details.

Staff at one pub told Sky News' team "no, it's okay" when asked if contact details should be left ahead of leaving the premises.

A staff members admits they didnt know what to do for the best
Image: A staff member admitted they did not know what to do for the best

When pressed, staff admitted they did not "know what to do for the best" when it came to gathering customer information.

At another bar, staff said they had "had it with the licensing and the police and everything".

"They said put some squares [of paper] down and put them in a box and that," the staff member said.

"And I said all I'm going to get is the same s***, where people are going to go and throw their names and numbers everywhere."

At the same venue, where social distancing was not being adhered to in some parts of the pub, the same staff member said "it was hard" to keep people apart, but that this was not "the only pub around here" to struggle.

Although in England it is not mandatory for pubs and bars to collect details, the government says venues "should assist" the test and trace programmes "by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days".

The Scottish government will this weekend implement legislation that makes it mandatory by law for hospitality venues to ask customers for their details.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had hinted pubs might be among venues to close so that schools can reopen fully and safely in September.

Only one pub proactively asked for our details, which they collected on the bar when ordering
Image: The venues visited are in a Greater Manchester borough where COVID-19 cases are rising

Last week, Mr Burnham promised "targeted enforcement" of venues that were not sticking to COVID-19 guidance, including asking for contact tracing details.

Following Sky News' investigation, the mayor said the situation is something "that we can't just turn a blind eye to".

He continued: "And I think it's more than juRead More – Source