HOSPITALITY businesses across the south face penalties if they don't follow the latest government legislation.

Under the latest changes to the law announced by the Prime Minister, pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants have a clear duty to support the NHS Test and Trace system.

Businesses found to be facilitating indoor gatherings between multiple households, or of more than six people, can be closed by local authorities and from September 18, it will be mandatory for hospitality businesses to have a system to collect Test and Trace data and to keep this for 21 days.

Amy Peacey, senior associate at the Southampton office of national law firm, Clarke Willmott, said: “There was a sigh of relief throughout the hospitality industry when venues were allowed to re-open on 4th July, but the Government guidance was not clear enough.

"As the numbers of people testing positive for Covid-19 begins to edge up again this represents a welcome clarification of the situation, as do the more stringent penalties for breaching the new ‘rule of six’ guidelines governing social gatherings.

"Hospitality businesses across the South could be hit for six if they fall foul of the latest government pandemic legislation.

"The message is clear, failing to abide by the new legislation could be terminal for many businesses which are operating in a sector which is already under severe financial pressure."