IT'S been almost a month since pubs in England finally reopened after lockdown, much to the collective joy of the nation's drinkers. Cheers!

However, it wasn't quite the same experience we all know and love.

Aside from social distancing, which can make things rather tricky, the Government published guidance that said businesses and organisations are being told to collect contact details of their visitors as their venues reopened.

This is in order to help the NHS Test and Trace service in the national effort to contain and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The steps advised by the Government include collecting the names, and phone numbers of all staff working at the premises, as well as the date and time they worked, making a record of the name and contact phone number of any customers or visitors, recording the date, arrival and departure time of all visitors or visiting groups, before storing the information for 21 days, after which should be safely deleted.

Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, Baroness Dido Harding explained why the measures were being put in place.

She said: "It’s vital that we keep up the amazing work that everyone has done across the country to protect their friends, family and communities from the spread of the virus.

"The virus has not gone, but we can live more safely alongside it.

"We now need businesses and the public to play their part in this new national effort by sharing their contact details.

"That way, if someone does test positive our dedicated team at NHS Test and Trace can quickly spring into action to contact those who may be at risk and advise them to self-isolate, helping everyone stay safe."

However, despite the fairly solid reasons for implementing the new rules, chatter on social media seemed to suggest that many people weren't happy at the prospect of giving out their details.

Furthermore, there were early reports of some establishments in Hexham not asking customers for their details on arrival.

But several pubs have confirmed that they are asking for details, and punters have generally been willing to comply.

Fiona Beck, manager of the County Hotel in Hexham, said: "We're following the government advice.

"For us, it's a lot easier because 90 per cent of our guests book, so they provide their details then,

"We only have to take the names and addresses of customers who walk in.

"Some don't want to do it, and we say fine - it's their choice, but 95 per cent have complied and given us their details."

Victoria Alapi, manager at the Beaumont Hotel, added: "People have been fine with it. People are used to it, everybody knows why we're doing it."

And Tony Elliott, manager at the Fox pub, said: "We've got a track and trace system in, we've got a pen and pad and a box and people put their details on,

"It's been alright, nobody has refused!"

Elsewhere, Mr Antz Bar has even come up with a more technological solution.

Manager Richard Davidson said: "We're taking details, we've got that in place and we've got a QR code people can scan when they come in.

"99 per cent of people have been all good.

"They're getting used to it after that first week or so, people know what they're doing.

"They're more relaxed and they're enjoying it."