The NSW government is busy developing the Service NSW app so that is can integrate health data to verify people’s vaccination status ahead of restrictions easing next month.
The new functionality is part of the state’s vaccine pass rollout that will support the reopening of small businesses including pubs, restaurants and hairdressers.
NSW’s roadmap allows retail, hospitality, hair and beauty businesses to emerge from lockdown when 70% of the eligible population has received both doses of vaccine.
Here’s everything businesses need to know about how vaccine passports will work.
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What’s a vaccine passport?
Vaccine passports are digital proof of someone’s vaccination status from an authorised source such as Medicare.
States, including NSW and Victoria, are adopting them as part of their reopening plans in a bid to offer more freedoms to vaccinated residents. The federal government is also working on a system for international travel.
Australians can already check their immunisation status through MyGov on Medicare; however, NSW and Victoria are now working on integrating that data with the COVID-19 check-in apps businesses have been using throughout the pandemic to support contact tracing.
A Service NSW spokesperson said the app will be easiest and simplest way for customers to prove their vaccination status if required when checking in to a business venue.
“However, customers may also choose to use the Express Plus Medicare app, the digital wallet on their smartphone or a paper certificate from the AIR to prove their vaccination status,” the spokesperson said.
As promised – here is an update on the vaccination integration with the Service NSW app.
1. Display – this is a draft. We have added an additional privacy feature with the show more/show less status 👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/eiUkXlBVu6
— Victor Dominello MP (@VictorDominello) September 22, 2021
When will businesses be required to use them?
In NSW, small businesses in the hospitality, retail, hair, beauty and fitness industries will be able to open their doors to customers as soon as the state reaches its 70% double vaccination target.
The NSW government expects to meet that milestone before October 11.
Under Victoria’s roadmap, hospitality businesses and hairdressers will be able to reopen when 70% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated. The government expects to reach that target on October 26.
Other industries, including general retail and beauty, will reopen when 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated on November 5.
Will the NSW app be ready when businesses reopen?
It’s unlikely the NSW app will be ready before October 11 because the state will have only launched a two-week pilot in regional NSW on October 6.
But Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the state will reopen regardless of whether the app can verify person’s vaccination status.
“The reality is right now there are other options of showing your vaccination status. This is just about making it easier for people,” Dominello said.
Are there penalties for businesses that don’t check a customer’s vaccination status?
Service NSW is yet to confirm whether businesses will face penalties if they fail to check a customer’s vaccination status.
A Service NSW spokesperson told SmartCompany the government will make more information on requirements for businesses available soon.
What if a customer has a medical reason for not being vaccinated?
Vaccination information and certificates are managed by the federal government. If a customer or employee has a valid medical reason for not being vaccinated, Services Australia encourages them to get a medical exemption from an authorised health professional.