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COVID-19 assistance

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About the NSW Government QR code

The NSW Government has developed a free QR code system that allows customers, staff and visitors to check in at businesses across NSW, and helps organisations to remain COVID safe and meet requirements for the accurate collection of customer contact details.

The check-in information is directly available for NSW Health contact tracing team in the event of a COVID-19 case. Quick access to the information protects the community in allowing timely contact tracing by NSW Health.

Which businesses will need to collect contact details using the NSW Government QR code? 

A complete list of businesses and venues can be found on the NSW Government website.

Do businesses have to check that every customer, staff member and visitor has checked in?

Businesses and customers all have a part to play to keeping NSW safe. Businesses should take reasonable steps to ensure that everyone entering their premises checks in using the NSW Government QR code. Staff should confirm that customers have checked in by asking to see the green check-in tick on the customer’s phone. Customers who don’t have access to a mobile phone or compatible device can be checked in using an alternative method such as the online concierge webform.

How does the QR code work?

When a business registers as COVID Safe, it is given a unique QR code to display.

Customers use a smartphone or QR code reader to scan the QR code when entering the premises. They will then be prompted to check in using the COVID Safe Check-in tool in the Service NSW app or the Service NSW webform.

The check-in automatically captures their contact details, and the date, time and location. This
information is then stored securely on a NSW Government database and only accessed by the
Ministry of Health for the sole purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing.

Service NSW will hold check-in records for a period of 28 days from the date they were collected after which, they will be destroyed. Any information transferred to the Chief Health Officer may be retained for more than 28 days in accordance with the Order. 

Why are businesses using the COVID Safe Check-in?

Keeping accurate records of those who have entered a location is key to stopping the spread of
COVID-19.

COVID Safe Check-in with the NSW Government QR code helps businesses to remain COVID safe and makes it easier to meet requirements for the collection of customer contact details.

From 1 January 2021 it became mandatory for hospitality and hairdressing businesses in NSW to use COVID Safe Check-in with the NSW Government’s QR code.

From 12 July 2021, it is mandatory for more businesses in NSW to use the NSW Government’s QR code.

To find out the record keeping requirements for your business visit Mandatory electronic check-in.

Who is required to check in?

Check-in is mandatory for all customers, staff and any other visitors.

Can businesses force customers to wear a mask before entering the premises?

There are public health orders in place that require a person to wear a face mask in certain indoor areas and public outdoor gatherings in NSW, unless an exemption applies.

You are not required to wear a mask if you have a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable.

If the occupier of the premises believes that a person does not have a valid exemption, the occupier can ask the person to wear a mask or ask them to leave the premises. If the person continues to ignore mask-wearing rules, the occupier of the premises can notify the police.

Persons not wearing a mask must carry an exemption and provide it to NSW Police upon request.

We urge community members to be respectful to others who are not wearing a mask as the reasons for not wearing a mask are not always visible or obvious.

Why do staff members need to check-in?

Keeping accurate records of those who have entered a location, including staff, customers and other visitors, is key to helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. It enables NSW Health contact tracers to access critical information quickly and easily if there is a positive COVID-19 case. Check-in with the NSW Government QR code helps businesses remain COVID safe and makes it easier to meet requirements for the collection of customer contact details.

If staff have to “swipe” into a building, do they also need to check-in using the NSW Government QR code? 

Yes, staff will also have to check-in using the NSW Government QR code.  

Do customers and staff members need to check out every time they leave the business location?

When leaving the business location, customers and staff members are encouraged to ‘check out now’ via the Service NSW app or webform. Checking out is optional but does help with contact tracing. 

How do I get a NSW Government QR code for my business?

To get a unique QR code for your business, you must register your business as COVID Safe

Following your registration, your unique, location specific QR code will be sent to you by email.

I have a large venue or multi-storey building - can I have different QR codes for different areas, entry point or floors?

Yes, you can get different QR codes for different areas within your venue or building.

To get different QR codes, you need to register all the different areas or entry points as COVID Safe. When registering the different areas, you must ensure you enter detailed address information to define the areas or entry points. For example, Smith Street entry, General Hotel, Sydney OR Level 4, Bell Building, 111 Long Street.

Following your registration, your unique, location specific QR codes will be sent to you by email. 

Can I get different QR codes for multiple buildings on the same site?

Yes, multiple buildings on the same site can all have unique QR codes.

To get different QR codes for each building, you need to register each building as COVID SafeWhen registering the different buildings, you must ensure you enter detailed name and address information to define each building. For example, Jones Street Church, 1 Jones Street, Sydney, OR Jones Street Church Community Hall, 1 Jones Street, Sydney, OR Jones Street Youth Gymnasium, 1 Jones Street, Sydney.

If you need to register 20 or more businesses or business locations, use the bulk registration form.

Following your registration, your unique, location specific QR codes will be sent to you by email.

Can I get different QR codes for multiple business locations that are operating under the same ABN?

Yes, you can. Multiple business locations operating under the same ABN can all have unique QR codes.

To get different QR codes for each business location, you need to register each location as COVID SafeWhen registering the different locations, you must enter detailed business name and address details to define each business location. However, you can enter the same ABN for all locations if numerous locations operate under the one ABN.

Following your registration, your unique, location specific QR codes will be sent to you by email.

COVID Safe Check-in customer experience

How can customers check in using the NSW Government QR code?

  1. Customers scan the QR code with their phone camera or a QR code reader.
  2. The smartphone reads the QR code and:
    • if the Service NSW app is already installed on their phone, this app will open and prompt the customer to confirm their contact details via the COVID Safe Check-in tool.
    • if the Service NSW app is not installed on their phone, the customer will be directed to a webpage where they will be given the choice to download the Service NSW app to check in or check in using the Service NSW webform.
  3. Alternatively, if a customer does not have a QR code compatible device, a staff member can check them in using the online concierge webform. 

Do customers need a MyServiceNSW account in order to use the COVID Safe Check-in tool in the Service NSW app?

No, they do not need a MyServiceNSW account. They can complete a guest check-in (no account log-in required) using the COVID Safe Check-in tool in the Service NSW app.

If they do not wish to download the Service NSW app they can complete the Service NSW webform check-in.

What if the customer doesn’t have the Service NSW app or a smartphone? How do businesses record their details?

If customers do not have the Service NSW app on their phone, they can check in using the Service NSW webform.

If they do not have a smartphone, they can check in using the online concierge webform on a venue-supplied digital device, such as a tablet or laptop.

If, due to unforeseen circumstances (such as an internet outage), you cannot check in customers using the online concierge webform you should electronically record customer contact details in the fillable Visitor Record template PDF, an Excel spreadsheet, Word document or other electronic record keeping system.

If there are unexpected circumstances which prevent the use of electronic methods to collect customer contact details, you can manually collect customer contact details using paper and pen. Any paper records must be entered into an electronic format, such as an Excel spreadsheet or Word document, kept by the business for at least 4 weeks, and provided on request to the Chief Health Officer within 4 hours. 

What are the minimum operating systems for the Service NSW app and the webform?

To use the app, ensure you have the latest operating system:

  • Android: Android 6 ("Marshmallow")
  • Apple: iOS 10.

To use the webform, ensure you have the latest version of your browser installed. 

Can visitors check in after they have entered a business?

All visitors should check in before entering your business or close to the main entry point. Businesses with high volumes of customers, such as supermarkets, are encouraged to display multiple check-in posters near store entry points to minimise crowding. 

Do customers need to check out every time they leave the business location?

When leaving the business location, customers are encouraged to ‘check out now’ using the COVID Safe Check-in tool in the Service NSW app. Checking out is optional but does help with contact tracing.

What do we do if someone refuses to check in?

All workplaces and retail businesses are required to have a record of all staff and visitors entering their venue under the Public Health Order. Anyone who refuses to provide their details may be refused entry to the premises.  It is a matter for the occupier of each premises to exercise judgement on what is appropriate for your premises and for the well-being of your staff and customers. 

If you intend to refuse entry, you should first ensure you are familiar with the exceptions and that you have spoken to the person and understand their circumstances. 

What reasonable steps do I need to take to ensure people check in to my business or premise?

  • display your QR codes in prominent locations 

  • remind people to check in when entering your premises 

  • where possible, keep an eye out for new people who have entered your premises 

  • ask to see the ‘green tick’ on the Service NSW app and check it relates to your premises. 

More information can be found on the NSW Government website.

 Do under 18’s need to be checked-in?

If a person aged under 18 years attends your premises and does not have a phone or device, and cannot be checked in by another person, they do not need to be checked in.  

Customer data and privacy

When someone checks in using the COVID Safe Check-in, where will their contact details be stored?

The contact details submitted via the COVID Safe Check-in tool in the Service NSW app and the Service NSW webforms are stored securely. After 28 days, the data is destroyed.

What is the data entered into the COVID Safe Check-in used for?

The data will only be used by NSW Health for the sole purpose of COVID-19 contact
tracing. Customer data will only be retained for 28 days, after which time it is destroyed.

Who has access to the contact details customers provide when they check in using the COVID Safe Check-in?

To protect customers’ privacy, businesses and organisations using the NSW Government’s QR code are not able to access the customer contact details submitted at check-in.

Access to the customer contact details (name and phone number) provided at check-in is restricted to authorised personnel in Service NSW and NSW Health.

NSW Government regulatory bodies are also able to view the total number of COVID Safe Check-ins at a business for a specific time and date to ensure businesses are meeting their COVID Safe responsibilities.  Regulatory bodies do not have access to customer contact details.

Costs

Is there any cost to use the NSW Government QR code?

No, COVID Safe Check-in is a free tool for registered COVID Safe businesses and organisations. The Service NSW app is also free for customers.

COVID-19 case notification

How will our business be notified if someone with COVID-19 visits our premises?

NSW Health will be in touch with the business if a confirmed COVID-19 case enters the location.

How will a person know if they have visited a business or organisation where an identified COVID-19 case has been?

People will be notified by NSW Health if a business or organisation they have checked in to is
identified as having had a COVID-19 case attend and advised of what they should do next. It is also important to keep checking the latest case locations and alerts

Record keeping requirements

Is it a requirement for our business to keep a record of customer contact details?

From 23 November 2020, customer check-in using electronic methods, such as a QR code check-in, became mandatory for many businesses and organisations.

From 1 January 2021, it became mandatory for hospitality venues and hairdressers in NSW to use the NSW Government QR code to electronically register customer check-ins.

From 12 July 2021, it is mandatory for more businesses in NSW to use COVID Safe Check-in with the NSW Government’s QR code. 

To find out the record keeping requirements for your business visit Mandatory electronic check-in.

Authorised officers and police are making inspections to check compliance and can issue on-the-spot fines. There are on-the-spot fines for individuals of $1,000 and $5,000 for businesses. Court issued penalties can be up to $55,000, with a further penalty of $27,500 for each day an offence continues

Other businesses or organisations, where record-keeping is not mandatory, are still strongly encouraged to provide electronic check-in so contact tracing can be carried out quickly in the event of an identified positive COVID-19 case.

Outages and troubleshooting

If customers are having trouble using COVID Safe Check-in, what could be wrong?

If customers are having issues checking in, there may be an easy solution. Some quick fixes that may solve the problem are:

  • Check the customer’s camera phone is enabled to scan QR codes. If this feature is not available, the customer may need to download a free QR code reader app.
  • Check that the Service NSW app has permission to use mobile data.
  • Check the customer is using the latest version of the app.

If none of the above solutions work, you can check in the customer using the online concierge form or another form of electronic record keeping.

Visit Troubleshooting Check-in for more information.

What happens if the Service NSW app experiences an outage?

If the Service NSW app is not available, businesses should direct customers to scan the COVID Safe Check-in QR code and check-in using the Service NSW webform option. Staff can also check in customers using the online concierge form that can be displayed on a venue-supplied digital device. 

If customers cannot be checked in using the webforms, customer records can be electronically recorded in in the fillable Visitor Record template – PDF an Excel spreadsheet, Word document or other electronic record keeping system.

If there are unexpected circumstances which prevent the use of electronic methods to collect customer contact details, you can manually collect customer contact details using paper and pen. Any paper records must be entered into an electronic format, such as an Excel spreadsheet or Word document, kept by the business for at least 4 weeks, and provided on request to the Chief Health Officer within 4 hours. 

If you collect customer contact details through any other means other than the NSW Government’s COVID Safe Check-in, you should ensure that these customer contact details are stored securely and destroyed after 28 days. 

What happens if a system or internet outage occurs and COVID Safe Check-in can’t be accessed via the Service NSW app or the webforms?

In the event where all COVID Safe Check-in options cannot be accessed (for example, if there is an internet or a Service NSW system outage) then customer records can be electronically recorded in the fillable Visitor Record template – PDF, an Excel spreadsheet, Word document or other electronic record keeping system.

If there are unexpected circumstances which prevent the use of electronic methods to collect customer contact details, you can manually collect customer contact details using paper and pen. Any paper records must be entered into an electronic format, such as an Excel spreadsheet or Word document, kept by the business for at least 4 weeks, and provided on request to the Chief Health Officer within 4 hours. 

If you collect customer contact details through any other means other than the NSW Government’s COVID Safe Check-in, you should ensure that these customer contact details are stored securely and destroyed after 28 days. 

Other

Does the COVID-Safe Check-in replace the federal COVID-Safe app?

No, the NSW Government’s QR code system helps businesses and organisations record who has attended their premises and enables NSW Health to conduct vital contact tracing.

This system complements the Federal Government’s COVID-Safe app that helps identify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.