QR code scanning could become law as COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins mulls ideas to keep numbers up

The Government is not ruling out making QR code scanning compulsory, with COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins saying we're good at signing in when things go awry, but get lax too quickly. 

Scanning QR codes takes two seconds and is super simple - and sometimes all we need is a gentle reminder, which is what Hipkins is considering to try and get Kiwis using the app more. 

Playing the role of scan monitor on Tuesday in Wellington, Glassons worker Zarrah Davis told Newshub it didn't take anything from her day. 

"It doesn't take much at all," she said. "It hasn't taken anything out of my day to put in the tiniest bit of extra effort."

But not enough of us are scanning all the time.

"When we're in a position where people are feeling comfortable, they're not always good at taking those precautions," Hipkins said on Tuesday. 

Kiwis Newshub spoke to acknowledged they could do better. 

"Got a little bit slack," one admitted.  

"It's like a normal thing and then it kind of stops, and then now again it's like let's start again," another said. 

For example, in the bliss of COVID-free Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning - before we knew about these community cases - 1000 people downloaded the app and we all collectively scanned 700,000 times. 

When news broke of the cases, the app went off the charts with nearly 25,000 downloads and 1.2 million scans. 

"New Zealand responds well when we're dealing with COVID-19," said Hipkins. "We don't necessarily prepare well."

Hipkins is now mulling options to keep the numbers up. He's considering introducing roaming reminders to our streets, perhaps similar to the Sani Squads we've seen at festivals over summer, or even making signing in compulsory.

"We haven't ruled that out at this point," said Hipkins. "We are considering further how we can ensure that the QR codes are operating as the useful tool that they can be."

He's worried businesses will struggle enforce it. But Glassons hasn't had a problem.

"It's not drastically affecting our company at all by me going 'hey, do you mind signing in to the app?'" Davis told Newshub.

Adding compulsion isn't without precedent - mandatory border testing, isolation, and mask wearing have all been added along the way.

And unless we all voluntarily lift our games - and our phones - "sign in, stop the virus" could become a statutory requirement.

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