Customers embarrassed by 'young and arrogant' bar staff over Covid app

Middle-aged customers claim they are being embarrassed by ‘young and arrogant’ bar staff who turned them away for not having the NHS Covid-19 app (despite rules saying they don’t need one)

  • Over ten million people have now downloaded the app in the UK since launch
  • But some pubs and restaurants have started turning customers away
  • They say unless they can show the QR code on their phones they cannot enter
  • Glitches in the app stopped thousands from logging their test results 
  • Have you been refused entry to a venue because you didn’t have the track and trace app? E-mail [email protected]

Middle-aged customers are being ‘humiliated’ by ‘app disciples’ at pubs and restaurants banning them from going in without the NHS Covid-19 app – despite government rules saying it is not compulsory. 

The infection tracing software has been used as an excuse for refusing entry to older drinkers and eaters without it downloaded onto their phones.

This is despite the government’s own guidance stating it should not be a precondition of entry. 

The rules only tell businesses they ‘must’ display the ‘official NHS QR poster’ and apply for a code to be connected to the app. 

But customers without the special phone system should still be allowed in as long as they supply their contact details in some form.

Mark Sevia, from Nottingham, told MailOnline he and his group had been refused entry at three venues for not having the app.

He said: ‘One venue allowed us in with paper form but after an hour’s wait without any service we moved on.

‘We were welcomed at our third choice and allowed to take a table after filling in the paper form.

‘Almost as soon as we sat down the manager descended on us and pointed out the App sticker on the wall.

‘On asking for proof of the legality of his refusal he backed down muttering about protecting his staff.

‘Having reluctantly parted with too much money we decided to eat and drink at home for the foreseeable future.

‘All three of the app disciples were young and arrogant and could not understand why this was such a challenge for older people. To be refused was bad enough but public humiliation was worse.’

Middle-aged customers are being ‘humiliated’ by ‘app disciples’ at pubs over the software

Pubs and restaurants have started turning away customers who don’t have the app

Stroke victim Derek Hudson said he was turned away from his coffee shop because he did not have the app.

He said: ‘I was refused service at a branch in my local supermarket.

‘What was most annoying was that I am recovering from a stroke and needed to rest for a few moments.’

The infection tracing software has been plagued with problems with the latest fiasco seeing up to 70,000 users blocked from logging their test results. 

Yesterday mother-of-two Clare Wakelam, 47, said she and two others had been due to go for lunch at Turtle Bay in Birmingham, West Mids, but was turned away when they did not all have the app.

The local authority worker from Walsall said she happily provided her contact details but thought the phone software would cause too many issues.

She told MailOnline: ‘When it was our turn the person at the door unless we all downloaded the app we couldn’t enter the establishment.

‘We went to a pub and we walked in fine and wrote our name and number down. 

Brits have encountered problems using the tracing app, while others who refuse to install it say they have been denied entry into pubs and restaurants

Law and orders: Do you really need the trace app to buy a drink? 

Government rules on the track and trace app say you do not need to have it to be allowed into pubs and venues.

But customers without it do need to provide their contact details in another way to staff.

If they refuse then they can be barred from going into the bar or restaurant.

Pubs also have to follow the rules of the Licensing Act 2003.

Licensees do have the right to refuse entry to people, but it cannot be unlawful – sexuality, race, or religion are among features that cannot be used to stop customers coming in.

It does say they can refuse entry to people on grounds of ‘public safety’ but if customers did provide some contact details it would be difficult to justify on this point.  

‘If Turtle Bay had just asked for our details we would have handed it over happily, I’ve done it everywhere else I’ve been.

‘I won’t download the app because I’m thinking it will cause too much trouble with how it alerts you and how sensitive it is.

‘With the app I think about older people who haven’t got phones like that so can’t get it. I also think what if the battery goes or the data allowance is used up – there are things that can go wrong.

‘I think it’s wrong that businesses are turning people away for things like this. I won’t be going back.’

Turtle Bay’s website spells out customers have to download the app, adding ‘We now need to ask everyone entering our restaurants to enter their contact details on the NHS Covid-19 App when they arrive. 

One customer wrote on Twitter: ‘I have today been refused entry into two establishments {a cafe and a pub} because I haven’t downloaded the NHS track and trace app!! Is this right?’ 

Another said: ‘Last night I was denied a meal because I didn’t have a Gvt phone app!!!!  

‘You may think I’m being over dramatic but you must now get the point. What else are we soon going to be denied access to unless we have a government phone app. Please, please, please people wake up.’

One user, Chloe James, wrote: ‘I’m in a pub and apparently they’ve been told they can’t serve anyone unless they have the track and trace app.’

The Government’s guidance on the app say that not having it is not a reason for venues to refuse entry, as long as they give their contact details.

But places like pubs could use the excuse of licensing regulations as a reason to stop people coming in, citing public safety. 

Despite problems more than ten million people have downloaded the app

However NHS hospitals warn the test and trace systems in England isn’t ready for the demands of winter. 

NHS Providers is calling for testing capacity to be quadrupled within three months, a dramatic improvement on turnaround times and a clear plan for regular testing of health workers, according to the BBC.  

 Concerns were expressed when it emerged people tested in NHS hospitals or Public Health England (PHE) labs, or those taking part in the Office for National Statistics infection survey, could not enter their results on the newly-launched app. 

 The app has been available for download across England and Wales since Thursday, but the problem existed only in England.

A tweet from the official app account on Friday confirmed that certain test results could not be recorded, after a user tweeted to say he was being asked for a code – which he did not have – in order to enter his result.

On Saturday evening, a spokeswoman said: ‘Everyone who receives a positive test result can log their result on the app.’

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