Certain NSW venues and patrons have entered the year with new rules around the use of digital QR codes.
Since January 1, all hairdressers and hospitality venues across the state have been required to use the Service NSW QR codes to log visitors' details or risk a $5000 fine.
We've prepared a guide for those wondering what this means and what you need to do when entering certain businesses.
What are QR codes?
QR codes are machine readable labels that have been used during the coronavirus pandemic to provide health authorities with fast access to accurate electronic records.
The black and white squares are used to log your details when entering a venue to assist contact tracing in the event of any coronavirus transmission.
Businesses and organisations that are required to collect patron records must record the full name, phone number, and date and time of entry for every person including staff, patrons and contractors visiting the premises.
This allows contact tracers to swiftly alert people who may have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 while visiting a business or organisation.
Most venues and organisations have already been using digital records, but hospitality venues and hairdressers are now required to use the Service NSW QR code system.
Why do I need to use the Service NSW QR code?
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has said the health department's job is easiest when the Service NSW system is used, because it allows for uniform records that can be more easily read by contact tracers.
"It's been apparent to us that whilst we've allowed businesses to use alternative QR codes, it's proving to be too frustrating for our contact tracers," she said.
"We've given businesses so much time to comply and to make sure the QR codes are in place but we remain unsatisfied with the level of compliance for people who aren't using the Service NSW QR code."
A Department of Customer Service spokesperson said its QR code system allowed NSW Health to directly access more accurate and reliable data if needed for tracing efforts.
"[It] allows NSW Health to access information much more quickly, within minutes, rather than having to contact lots of businesses, wait for records and sift through records," the spokesperson said.
How do I use it?
Hold your phone camera in front of the QR code until it is detected and you see a pop up link taking you through to the Service NSW website. You can then either use the app or scroll down to a red button which says "webform".
If you click through you can enter your full name and contact number without needing to use the app.
If you have any children or other dependents with you, you'll need to include how many when you enter your own details.
Do I need to download the app?
You can download the Service NSW app but it's not essential.
Where do I need to use it?
Hospitality venues and hairdressers must now offer the Service NSW QR code system. There are however a number of other venues that need to use some kind of electronic check-in. These include:
- Auction houses
- Beauty salons
- Dive-in cinemas
- Entertainment facilities
- Function centres
- Funeral homes
- Public swimming pools
- Recreation facilities
What if I don't have a mobile phone?
The NSW Department of Customer Service has said customers can check-in by completing a digital form provided by the business if they don't have a mobile phone.
What will happen to my personal data?
A Department of Customer Service spokesperson has said Service NSW will securely store the data for 28 days in the event it is needed for contact tracing.
"Customer data is securely stored in a separate, encrypted database which can only be accessed by NSW Health for the purpose of COVID contact tracing," the spokesperson said.
"After this time, it will be destroyed."