Victorian retail stores, restaurants and cafes will be required to electronically check in all their customers, irrespective of how long patrons spend in store.
Acting Premier James Merlino announced the new QR code check-in rules on Wednesday when he extended the current lockdown in Melbourne another seven days.
Under the updated rules, the Victorian government’s QR code check-in system is mandatory in all retail settings, including shops and supermarkets.
The 15-minute threshold, which previously meant customers did not need to check in if they briefly visited a store, has been removed. Customers must now check in regardless of how much time they spend in a shop or cafe.
Since May 28, all venues using electronic record keeping have been required to adopt the free Victorian Government QR Code Service. Prior to the change, businesses could use any QR code system.
Acting Premier James Merlino said regional business owners will be responsible to make sure they are not serving metropolitan residents in their shops.
With varying restrictions across the state, there will be businesses located in regional Victoria that can open, while the same type of business in metropolitan Melbourne remains shut.
To ensure metropolitan residents are not travelling further than 10km from their homes, businesses — including restaurants and beauty salons — must check the IDs of everyone they serve, Acting Premier Merlino said.
“We know it’s an extra ask on staff and customers — but ultimately, it’s about keeping your community safe,” he said.
COVID safety signage, density limits, properly distanced customer tables and QR code check-in systems are all part of the state’s COVIDSafe compliance requirements for businesses.
Businesses flouting the safety requirements can be fined by authorised officers undertaking routine inspections.
In May, seven businesses in Victoria were fined between $1652 and $9913 for not meeting COVID safety rules.
Four hospitality venues in St Kilda, South Melbourne, Brunswick and Geelong were fined $9913 for non-compliance issues, including having no QR code check-in systems in place.
Businesses repeatedly breaking the rules can be issued with a second fine of $9913, or a prohibition notice shutting them down.
Melbourne-based founder of Industry Beans, Trevor Simmons, acknowledged the ever-changing restrictions are difficult for businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry.
“Prior to this circuit breaker, hospitality was really coming back thanks to the incredible support of the Melbourne community,” Simmons said.
“We’d hope to see a quick recovery this time, where people in the community can have confidence in going out to businesses again.”