Manchester firms have stepped in to help ensure a safe reopening for the hospitality industry this weekend.
A pair of Bury entrepreneurs have launched a free track and trace system for hair salons, pubs, cafes and restaurants in England as they prepare to reopen on July 4.
Bury-based Keith Robinson and Paul Smith of virtual business card firm Zappify have unveiled their new Cov-ID, capturing and exchanging contact information on mobile phones, enabling businesses to meet new requirements ahead of the reopening of the hospitality sector.
The technology will link establishments with consumers through the Zappify platform, allowing them to provide a record of who has attended.
Since launching the virtual business cards last month, the pair have seen subscribers from the UK, US and Australia sign up.
Consumers who register with Zappify instantly receive a personal Cov-ID QR code to their smartphones.
They only need to register once, as they can scan in and out of the same establishment multiple times or any other Zappify-registered location.
For businesses which sign up to Zappify Cov-ID, the system provides a record of customers attending their premises.
Once a business registers, staff will be able to use their smartphones to scan customers in and out.
The business will also receive a unique QR code which it can choose to display at its premises, providing an alternative method for customers to scan themselves in and out.
All data is held securely, is GDPR-compliant, and will be stored and deleted in line with government guidance. It is expected that businesses will have to keep a register of customers for 21 days.
Keith said: “Paul and I run our own small companies which have been affected by recent events, and we empathise totally with those establishments which have been forced to shut since the coronavirus crisis unfolded.
“We feel very strongly about giving back to these smaller businesses. Now they will soon be able to open, albeit with restrictions in place, we have come up with a simple solution to one of the many problems they are facing.
“It’s been quite straightforward to adapt the technology and to save independent businesses from having to invest in expensive systems or revert to pen and paper to meet the track and trace guidelines.”
Salon owner Claire Gaskell is among the first to sign up for the system.
Claire, who runs Avanti, in Ramsbottom, said: “I’ve been using my Zappify virtual business card since it was launched because my salon has been closed.
“Opening on Saturday is really exciting and I am delighted that the track and trace requirements will be no burden at all using the Zappify Cov-ID system.”
Elsewhere, Northern Quarter-based Shield Safety Group has launched a ‘Safe to Trade’ scheme to help outlets reopen safely, also aimed at boosting consumer confidence in safety measures.
The company has collaborated with top-ranking industry experts, including Geoffrey Podger, the former CEO of the Health and Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency and John Barnes the ex-Head of Local Delivery at Food Standards Agency.
The group has come together to “harness their understanding” of running hospitality operations safely – and apply their insights into health and safety across the industry to launch a new independently-verified Covid-19 safety standard – The Safe to Trade Scheme.
It will work with outlets to ensure that their premises and teams are Covid compliant and more – going beyond government guidelines to help them deliver the measures that consumers have stated that they want to see in venues.
The aim is to help businesses open fast with an innovative solution to the new normal, while also donating 10% of fees to Hospitality Action.
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Mark Flanagan, CEO at Shield Safety Group, and who heads up the Scheme’s Governance Board explains: “The hospitality industry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response to the needs of the sector has been a moveable feast.
“Shield Safety Group has taken up the mantle to spearhead the Safe to Trade Scheme in a bid to both save and protect the sector.
“Over the next six to 12 months hospitality businesses are going to have to re-think how they engage with and reassure their loyal customers if they are to quickly start to regain lost revenue, as well as reassure both colleagues and customers.”