Single QR system to be rolled out as check-in compliance plummets

Compliance with QR codes has plummeted across Victoria, with one government survey showing fewer than half the visitors to hospitality venues reported checking in every time in April.

The state government’s centralised coronavirus check-in system will become mandatory for many businesses from the end of May, in a push to boost usage and streamline the process.

Scanning the QR code outside court three at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open.Credit:Eddie Jim

NSW made it compulsory for restricted businesses to use a government QR service in January, the ACT made its app mandatory from March and Queensland mandated the use of its service from the start of this month.

But Victorian businesses have been allowed to use their own electronic record-keeping systems and these were not required to link to the government’s system until the end of April.

Health experts say this has created a frustrating situation in which Victorians check into venues using different systems.

The government survey showed just 41 per cent of visitors to hospitality venues reported always checking in during April, down from 54 per cent in February.

Melbourne visitors Indigo Collins and Oksana Lutak have found Victoria’s multiple QR code systems difficult to navigate.Credit:Simon Schluter

Dr Vally, who said he forgot to check into a Brunswick cafe on Friday, noted compliance had fallen away due to a lack of community transmission.

“It’s only natural for one to drop their guard when the perceived level of threat diminishes,” he said. “That’s human psychology.”

Melbourne visitor Indigo Collins used to always check into venues using QR codes, but said she’d recently become more relaxed because there was no community transmission.

“I don’t have an issue with checking in but it seems unnecessary,” the 25-year-old said.

Ms Collins, who is from the ACT, said she found checking into Victorian venues complicated because there were so many systems.

In the space of five days she’s encountered five different schemes.

“In the ACT you just walk in, scan a QR code or type the business name. One person can check in with a group and it saves your friends’ details.”

Her friend Oksana Lutak, 29, said many cafes and shops were not displaying QR codes prominently.

“I have checked in a lot less in Melbourne,” she said. “I want to be compliant but if the sign is not there it doesn’t become part of the routine.”

Venues and businesses required to undertake electronic record-keeping include libraries, cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, hairdressers and galleries.

The government also highly recommends electronic record-keeping for supermarkets, markets, and retail and shopping centres.

Department of Health data shows there were more than 8.5 million check-ins using the government’s Services Victoria app in April, up from 4.9 million the previous month.

Last Saturday, a new record of 517, 468 check-ins were recorded on the system in a single day.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned on Friday the source of an infection in a couple in Sydney’s eastern suburbs may never be found.

More than 55,000 SMS messages have been sent by Victorian health authorities to people arriving from Sydney since 30 April.

To date, five people in Victoria have been identified as NSW exposure site contacts and are being managed by public health authorities. They are all isolating. Three have returned negative test results and the other two are awaiting results.

All 265 primary close contacts from a positive COVID-19 case linked to a hotel quarantine facility in Perth have also been released from quarantine after receiving negative results to their day 13 tests.

The case, a man aged in his 50s, is no longer an active case.

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