Coronavirus: QR scanning, manually signing in compulsory at all alert levels

Record-keeping such as scanning QR codes will soon be mandatory for most events and businesses across alert levels to ensure the Government can contact trace quickly.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says those in charge of businesses or events need to make sure people keep a record of when they visit, either by scanning QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app or making a manual record.

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

"Those places where records are already kept and people are already required to sign in, like gyms and some workplaces, won't need to adjust what they are already doing," Hipkins says.

"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."

It is currently mandatory at alert level 2 to make a record when visiting a marae, at weddings, funerals, tangihanga, and faith-based services, but this will be extended to all businesses that can open at any alert level.

All businesses and services, workplaces, and public transportation operators are already legally required to display a NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: Getty Images

The onus of ensuring people make a record when visiting a service will be on the person responsible for the business or gathering. This rule will come into effect seven days after any change in alert levels so businesses have time to get it sorted, Hipkins says.

"I understand this adds an extra responsibility for businesses and hosts, but it is necessary to help New Zealand maintain its COVID-19 elimination strategy and help us return to the freedoms we have enjoyed for the past year which so many other countries have not," he says.

"As we have said with masks and face coverings - encouraging people to wear one whenever they leave home and making it mandatory when visiting a business or service in alert level 4 - this will only apply to people over the age of 12. Face coverings, when used in combination with good record keeping, are two strong measures that will help in our defence against COVID-19."

Scanning in with the COVID Tracer app had recently slumped to its lowest levels since it was introduced. It was estimated earlier this month that the level of daily scanning was 3 to 5 percent of the ideal level.

Since lockdown began, use has risen slightly. There are almost three million registered users of the app and there were 558,680 scans reported in the 24 hours to midday on Saturday.