Coronavirus: Concerns as businesses required to enforce compulsory sign-ins at venues

Business NZ says there's "going to be some real friction" since compulsory QR code scanning or manually signing in will be enforced by workers in venues.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced earlier on Sunday that it will be mandatory for most businesses at all alert levels to record your visit, either manually or through the NZ COVID Tracer app. Failure to do so could see you fined up to $1000 - that goes for both businesses and punters.

The types of places where this rule will be enforced include cafes, restaurants, bars, casinos and concerts, aged care and healthcare facilities, barbers, exercise facilities, nightclubs, libraries, courts, local and central government agencies, and social services providers with customer service counters.

"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 on Sunday.

The rule is set to come into force in seven days, but those tasked with enforcing it are worried. 

"I think there's going to be some real friction there," says Kirk Hope, CEO of Business NZ.

Even in the short time masks have been mandatory, essential workers have reported being spat on and harassed for enforcing the rule. 

"Business owners, people in businesses will be worried about some extreme customer reactions," Hope adds.

Coronavirus: Concerns as businesses required to enforce compulsory sign-ins at venues
Photo credit: Newshub.

ACT leader David Seymour has come up with a more novel way to sweeten the deal.

"The Government's bringing the stick, ACT would bring the carrot and say if you scan, every scan goes into the draw for one of 100 $1000 prizes each week."

Seymour says he wants to help out business owners who he says have been drafted as involuntary law enforcement.

New Zealanders Newshub spoke to were largely in support of mandatory scanning.

"It's a pretty good idea, I'm not against it," one says.

"I think it should be mandatory, it makes sense," another says.

An abysmally low number of close contacts in this outbreak were alerted by the COVID Tracer app - just 20 percent of the 8667 so far identified were told through the app. It means contact tracers had to track down almost 7000 people manually.

"Particularly in light of the situation with the Delta variant, speed means a lot," Hipkins said.