Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins announced that scanning or manually signing in to many busy cafés, restaurants, and busy events will now become compulsory after the government announced that “mandatory record-keeping” is being introduced at all Alert Levels.
“We know from our own and overseas examples that an outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely difficult to trace and contain without people keeping a good record of where they have been and who they have come into contact with,” Hipkins said.
“That includes cafés, restaurants, bars casinos, concerts, aged care facilities, health care facilities barbers, exercise facilities, nightclubs, libraries, courts, local and central government agencies and social service providers who have a customer service counter. We're now making it a requirement for all Alert Levels.”
The change will come into effect seven days after any Alert Level changes that allow more businesses to open. The extent of the new policy is still unclear, however, and it is understood that officials are still be working on exactly what sort of businesses will have to comply.
At this stage it looks like supermarkets and dairies will be excluded on grounds of practicality, but venues where wearing a mask is impractical – such as bars and restaurants will be covered.
“A mandatory record keeping requirement for the retail sector was considered, but ultimately we agreed that the compliance burden for small businesses would be too onerous. We do encourage all businesses to promote use of QR codes and record keeping as much as possible,” Hipkins said.
“Our priority for mandatory record keeping is locations where mask wearing isn’t practical, for example where food and drink is being consumed, and where people gather in larger numbers. Experience here and abroad shows that these are the settings that prove the greatest challenge for contact tracers.”
The rule will apply to children aged 12 and over, the same age as mandatory face coverings. When it applies, it will be businesses, not individuals who will be responsible for non-compliance with the new rules, how this will be policed or what punishment a business may face has yet to be announced.
You can download your QR code for your business here.