Government makes taking contact details mandatory for English hospitality venues: Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be ordered to take customers’ details for the NHS Test and Trace programme. Health secretary Matt Hancock has revealed more details of the government’s latest lock-down rule changes in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. He was speaking after it was announced yesterday (Tuesday, 8 September) that from Monday (14 September), people in England will no longer be allowed to gather in groups of more than six people. Previously, the rule was up to 30. As well as revealing more about the new rules, Hancock said there will be a new focus on pubs and restaurants. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re also going to enforce, more strictly, the rules around hospitality including, for instance, you need to give your contact details when you go to hospitality, which has so far been voluntary. Large swathes of the hospitality industry have followed it. Some have chosen not to so we’re going to make that compulsory as well.” Hancock said the ban on gatherings of more than six people will be in place for the “foreseeable future”. He added: “It’s absolutely, therefore, the foreseeable future. I really hope we can turn this round before Christmas. I think that, in a pandemic, Christmas is a long way off. Three months is a long time in a pandemic and I very much hope this strong rule, together with the local action we’ve taken in places like Bolton… I very much hope, therefore, this can work to do that by Christmas.”
Pizza Hut Restaurants set to close 29 sites as part of CVA: Pizza Hut Restaurants, the UK dine-in franchise business of the global Pizza Hut brand, is set to close 29 of its 244 restaurants with the loss of 450 jobs as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The company said it is negotiating the CVA in order to mitigate the financial impact of covid-19 and is working to reach agreement with its creditors. Pizza Hut Restaurants is a separate company to the Pizza Hut UK business, which is focused on food delivery from a further 380 sites. A Pizza Hut Restaurants spokesman said: “Pizza Hut Restaurants is one of many hospitality brands that has faced significant disruption and despite a quick, covid-safe reopening, sales are not expected to fully bounce back until well into 2021. We are committed to doing the right thing and, in order to secure as many jobs as possible and continue serving our communities, we are working to reach an agreement with our creditors. While we are likely to see 29 Hut closures and 450 job losses, any measures we take aim to protect about 5,000 jobs at our remaining 215 restaurants, as well as the longevity of the business. We understand this is a difficult time for everyone involved. We appreciate the support of our business partners and are doing everything we can to help our team members during this process, including speaking with those affected by the consultation. This does not affect locations, jobs or operations at Pizza Hut Delivery, any of Pizza Hut Delivery’s other franchises or any international Pizza Hut or Yum! operations. As a group, we look forward creating a future where we continue sharing pizza with our communities.” The vast majority of the brand’s UK restaurants have now reopened and have seen a major boost from the government’s Eat Out To Help Out promotion, which ended last month. Pizza Hut Restaurants’ fortunes had improved prior to the coronavirus outbreak, following a long period of under-performance. The company’s chief executive, Jens Hofma, orchestrated a management buyout in 2018, with backing from Pricoa Capital Group. The business trades in the UK under franchise from its US-based owner, Yum! Brands.