Hospitality venues and other businesses in NSW have been urged to adopt Service NSW’s in-app Covid Safe check-in tool ahead of the introduction of mandatory digital registration in two weeks’ time.

It comes a week after Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a deadline of November 23 for businesses to introduce systems to capture contact details electronically for contact tracing.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello on Wednesday said that select businesses that had not introduced any system for digital registration by this date would face a penalty.

In situations where customers don’t have a smartphone or there is an outage, businesses will be able to manually record contact details and the time of entry on a device using Excel, for example.

“Complacency is our greatest threat and any business that thinks they are above the law will face serious penalties,” Dominello said.

“I strongly encourage businesses to download a free NSW government QR code and for customers to use the COVID Safe check-in through the Service NSW app.

“So far more than 16,000 businesses have used a NSW Government QR code and 94 percent of customers have given the COVID Safe check-in the thumbs up.”

The Covid Safe check-in tool, which went live in September after a short trial, lets Service NSW’ app users check into a participating venue by scanning a QR code.

The app automatically captures the date and time of a visit, and securely stores the information on a Service NSW database for 28 days before being deleted.

No personal information, including name, email address and mobile phone number, is shared with the venue.

Crucially, the Covid Safe check-in tool avoids the need for businesses to use third-party options, which privacy advocates have raised concerns about in recent weeks.

“Any business that is serious about safety should be using digital registration, such as a QR code or other method of capturing contact details electronically. There are no excuses,” Dominello said.

“We have to move away from the walk-in culture to the check-in culture. This is about building resilience as we continue to open up as safely as possible heading into summer.

“The overwhelming majority of businesses do the right thing but inspectors have told us that some just don’t get it and have inadequate check-in systems.”

NSW and the ACT are the first states to introduce a government developed QR code solution, though Victoria is also in the process of developing one.

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