As of Monday, it is mandatory for commercial and hospitality venues in NSW to have electronic check-in systems in place, and those that do not comply will face penalties.
The rule comes after the NSW government eased restrictions to allow 3,000 people to gather at outdoor ticketed events, and announced that from December 1, there will be no cap on the number of people allowed into large hospitality venues, provided there is 2 square metres of space per person.
Different electronic check-in technology has emerged since the pandemic began, such as QR codes and near-field communication (NFC), all designed to make data collection simpler for customers, businesses and health authorities alike.
Wavin is one alternative to a QR-code app, instead offering four different check-in methods.
Using Wavin, customers can ‘wave in’ to venues using NFC, which sees them place their phone over a sensor, a Wavin spokesperson tells SmartCompany.
“If you have an older phone that’s not NFC capable, you can use our own version of QR codes which is SeQR codes,” the spokesperson says.
Wavin also allows customers or employees to check-in using a link in an internet browser.
Other check-in services, such as COVID Comply, are similar to Wavin in that they are designed to comply with the privacy laws of each state.
“Data has to be held and purged within a certain timeframe, and those timeframes vary depending on the state,” the Wavin spokesperson says.
“Information can only be used for contract tracing purposes and then get deleted.”
In NSW, it is not just hospitality venues that risk being fined if they do not adopt an electronic check-in system.
Amusement centres, aquariums, auction houses, beauty and hair salons and drive-in cinemas are all required to use electronic check-in systems too.
A full list of NSW businesses to which check-in regulations apply is available here.
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia CEO Peter Strong is supportive of the fine, saying businesses understand what is at stake if they do not comply with COVIDSafe rules.
“As much as you always hate fines, we live with COVID-19, and there are people who don’t do the right thing,” Strong tells SmartCompany.
“We believe, given the danger to society and to all business of a second outbreak, that the message is loud and clear you have to do this,” Strong says.
Strong’s one concern is that blame could unfairly fall on businesses.
“The government needs to make sure it’s not fining a business for the behaviour of a customer,” Strong says.