Bar owner Leo Molloy says scanning QR codes 'very, very slow', a 'serious issue' for businesses as Auckland reopens under traffic light system

Auckland waterfront bar owner Leo Molloy says using the vaccine pass is "very slow" and a serious issue for businesses. 

Molloy opened his bar Headquarters last night to make the most of the new traffic light system coming into play. Auckland moved into the red setting at 11:59pm on Thursday. It meant bars and restaurants could finally reopen after 107 days in lockdown, as long as they check vaccine passes before allowing patrons to enter. 

Molloy said it was great to open again but warned checking vaccine certificates is a slow process. 

"We found a couple of wrinkly design faults last night but I think we would have processed between 50 to 80 in the first 25 minutes.

"The processing of those QR codes and authentication of the COVID vaccine certificates is very, very slow. We bought four handheld devices to do it but it's very slow if the host phone has an impediment of any kind - the screen is greasy, the brightness is not right up, it has a crack in the screen. It could slow you down hugely," he told The AM Show. 

Molloy said people should ensure their phones are clean and their brightness is turned up before they arrive at hospitality venues. 

"The first 50 last night took 25 minutes. Well we've got 350 booked for lunch today, plus we will get 300 walk-ins so that could potentially take us two and a half hours and you've only got two and a half to three hours set aside per person… So that's a serious issue that we have to address."

He said the bar is buying more scanning devices and ensuring there are enough staff to use them. 

"We will buy about a half dozen more of those devices today and try to encourage people to download it onto nice clean, straightforward phones." 

Apart from that, Molloy said reopening was smooth sailing with no trouble makers showing up. 

"None of those very brave anti-vaxxers who have been threatening me on the internet showed up, I was quite ready to go with them."

Under the red setting cafes, bars, takeaway shops, nightclubs and restaurants can open to guests with vaccine certificates but with a limit of 100 people and 1m of distance. 

Vaccinated customers must sign in with the NZ Covid Tracer app, be seated and separated, and wear face coverings when they're not eating or drinking.

Venues where food and drink is provided can be hired, with a limit of 100 vaccinated people. Food and beverage service must be seated and separated and face coverings are encouraged. 

If a hospitality business chooses not to use vaccine certificates, they can only operate contactlessly. 

Unvaccinated people can, however, hire venues where food and drink is provided, but with a limit of 25 people, and face coverings are encouraged. 

What are the levels?


  • Red will be used if there's a major outbreak or low vaccination levels in a region, putting vulnerable people at risk and threatening an unsustainable number of hospitalisations.
  • Orange will be used when there's increasing community transmission of COVID-19 but vaccination levels are high. 
  • Green will be used when there are some COVID-19 cases in the community but vaccination levels are high.