New visitor registration system launched as PM tightens rules

A PIONEERING restaurant is one of the first to adopt a brand new visitor registration system designed to keep its staff and customers safe in line with new measures announced this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England will be legally required to record visitors’ details and keep them for 21 days in case they are required to support the NHS test and trace scheme, Mr Johnson announced. It is already mandatory for hospitality venues in Scotland to record visitor details.

The Old Bank in Carlisle is one of the first to adopt Econnects, a simple-to-use system which helps businesses keep records of staff, customers and visitors.

The contactless technology is designed to help pubs, restaurants and other businesses comply with the government’s new laws.

Matt Rayson, who is chef/owner at The Old Bank, said: “We’ve found that Econnects is a simple, cost effective system which makes the overall experience of visiting a restaurant easier and more relaxed for our customers.

“Instead of filling out a piece of paper with their name and contact details, customers simply scan a QR code with their phone and log their details. The customer can view the menu on the same page which saves printing out and handling paper versions. Staff also log on to the system at the start of their shift.

“It means I no longer deal with hundreds of separate pieces of paper. The information is stored securely in one place, which can be accessed easily if required.

Matt Rayson, chef/owner of The Old Bank in Carlisle
Matt Rayson, chef/owner of The Old Bank in Carlisle

“We have stringent measures in place to ensure the safety of our customers and the Econnects system complements those measures.

“It’s vitally important that we have people’s details in this way, because if anything does happen, we can react quickly and get the necessary information to the authorities as soon as possible.”

Econnects has been developed by Eco, a proven solutions company based in Annan and Mealsgate, near Cockermouth, in collaboration with Carol Milnes of CA Events.

The system helps venues maintain records which support the NHS programme to identify people who may have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, while at the same time ensuring businesses remain GDPR compliant. It is quick and easy to set up and involves a simple-to-use mobile interface for users.

Eddie Black, Eco’s managing director, said: “We have developed Econnects to provide a simple, affordable, contactless solution to help keep people as safe as possible in any environment - whether that be pubs, restaurants, cafes, offices, gyms, entertainment venues, sporting arenas, or other premises.

“This system is ideal for pub and restaurant owners, and other hospitality businesses, as it helps them meet the government’s new regulations in an easy-to- use way.

“It also provides reassurance to staff and customers. Knowing this solution is in place gives them that all-important confidence.

“It also allows business owners to meet the government’s new regulations, so that they can also focus on other aspects of their business.”

The Old Bank, which is based in a Grade II-listed building in Carlisle’s historic quarter, reopened on August 6.

Matt and his husband Matthew totally revamped the restaurant while it was initially closed due to lockdown.

They created a new dining room, redecorated the whole venue and refreshed the menu.

“We’ve never had the time before to do everything we wanted to do so we decided to go for it,” said Matt.

The business was given a boost during August by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Matt said: “It really helped build confidence in the hospitality sector following lockdown and it’s been fantastic to welcome our customers back to the restaurant.”