On Wednesday, November 4, the New South Wales (NSW) government announced that it would be reopening its border with the state of Victoria. The border will be reopened at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, November 23. Residents from both states will now be permitted to cross the border with confidence, and there is hope that this will help the struggling hospitality sector, especially with the coming holiday season.
Along with this announcement comes a change to requirements for food businesses in NSW. Up until now, food businesses have been required to keep a record of their customers for contact tracing purposes. Now, food businesses will be required to use QR codes for contact tracing purposes in their establishments. This requirement comes into effect on Monday, November 23.
"From that day, the use of QR codes for hospitality businesses within NSW will be compulsory," said Premier Gladys Berejiklian, continuing on to say that "there is no reason why, within the next three weeks, that all businesses shouldn't have QR codes".
Contact tracing has been identified as one of the main ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. By streamlining the contact tracing process, the NSW government is anticipating an increase in contact tracing efficiency and accuracy.
What is a QR code?
A QR code is similar to a barcode. It provides information that can be read by a smartphone's camera. The goal with making the use of QR codes mandatory is to help make contact tracing more efficient and accurate. Rather than food businesses having to write down the contact information, the information can be easily read and stored through the use of QR codes.
QR codes are also COVID-19 safe, which is vital as the pandemic continues. By using QR codes, food businesses are able to obtain contact information in a hygienic, contactless way.
How can food businesses use QR codes?
There are a few ways that food businesses can use QR codes. First, food businesses can adopt their own QR code system. Free QR code reader apps can be used to scan QR codes and they are available on Android or iPhone app stores.
Second, food businesses can use the NSW government’s COVID Safe Check-in with the Service NSW app, which is available to all businesses in NSW. The NSW government is providing a free QR code that is unique to each food business. Food businesses can have customers scan the specific QR code when they check in to the establishment. The customer information is then sent directly to Service NSW. Customers will need to have the Service NSW app installed on their phone to record their visit.
The benefit of using this service is that food businesses will not need to store the data themselves. Also, NSW Health will have direct access to the information should it be needed.
NSW food businesses must begin preparing for the new requirements, including informing customers of the change. It may take some time for customers to become accustomed to the new QR code requirements, such as needing to have their phone ready when they check in to any food business. Food businesses should begin training staff now on how to use the QR code system as well as the answers to common questions that customers will have.