Government issues mandatory scanning in for “busy places and large gathering”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Aug 22, 2021 |

Photo: Christchurch City Council

“Mandatory record-keeping” is being introduced for busy places and large gatherings.

This means those responsible for businesses and events will need to ensure people keep a record when they visit, either by scanning QR codes with the COVID-19 Tracer App or making a manual record.

But it also means customers will be required to scan in using QR codes or manually sign in.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said “it is clear that when people use the app or manually sign in, rather than relying on memory, contact tracing can happen much more quickly,” Chris Hipkins said. 

He told this afternoon’s press conference “we’ve been exploring how to best do this, and that’s included the consideration of the privacy aspects of that and also the consideration of some of the rules around the Bluetooth framework that we are using and making sure we don’t lose access to that. “

“You will note that we’re talking about mandatory record-keeping, rather than mandatory use of the QR code system. We want people to be keeping a record. I would highly recommend to them the QR code system because it’s a very fast, safe, easy, convenient way to keep a record of where you’ve been.”

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins

He said “where businesses are enforcing a legal requirement, don’t take that out on the businesses, make sure you are complying. It is ultimately a legal requirement in that businesses are just doing what they should be doing.”

 “We know from our own and overseas examples that an outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely difficult to trace and contain without people keeping a good record of where they have been and who they have come into contact with. 

 “So we are making it mandatory at the sorts of places where people gather consistently and in large numbers to ensure that people scan or sign in. This includes cafes, restaurants, bars, casinos and concerts, aged care, healthcare facilities (excluding patients), barbers, exercise facilities, nightclubs, libraries, courts, local and central government agencies, and social services providers with customer service counters.

 Those places where records are already kept and people are already required to sign in, like gyms and some workplaces, won’t need to adjust what they are already doing.”

 Mandatory record-keeping is currently required at social gatherings including when visiting a marae, at weddings, funerals, tangihanga and faith-based services at Alert Level 2. It will now be a requirement for those businesses and events that are permitted at any Alert Level.  

 The obligation will be on the person responsible for the place or gathering to ensure people can scan or sign in. This will become effective seven days after any change in Alert Level settings that might allow more businesses to open or gatherings to go ahead.

“We want to ensure businesses and those who may be organising a gathering or event have time to get this sorted,” Chris Hipkins said.

 “I understand this adds an extra responsibility for businesses and hosts, but it is necessary to help New Zealand maintain its COVID-19 elimination strategy and help us return to the freedoms we have enjoyed for the past year which so many other countries have not. 

 “As we have said with masks and face coverings – encouraging people to wear one whenever they leave home and making it mandatory when visiting a business or service in Alert Level 4 – this will only apply to people over the age of 12. Face coverings, when used in combination with good record keeping, are two strong measures that will help in our defence against COVID-19.”

Minister Chris Hipkens says “Apple and Google are okay with mandatory recordkeeping requirements, but wouldn’t be comfortable with the mandatory use of the Covid tracer app requirement.”

He said “while most people will use the Covid tracer app as their way of keeping their record, we’re not making that a requirement. We are making it a requirement for people to keep records. I think there are some of our community who already use pen on paper. They keep a written record of where they have been and that is perfectly acceptable for them to do that.“

“In terms of the legislative change around whether we would prevent that information being used for other purposes, having considered a legislative change at this point, we have been clear that we would not envisage it being used for any other purpose than contact tracing, that is the purpose for which it is collected, we would not envisage it being used for any other purpose. Similarly, when we collect information for testing and for vaccines we do not use that for any other law enforcement purposes.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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