Service NSW adds COVID Safe Check-Ins

One of the ‘new normals’ when it comes to living with COVID-19 is contact tracing, and allowing public health officials to rapidly contact people who may be at risk of having or spreading COVID-19.

While originally many venues resorted to pen and paper, this isn’t great from a hygiene perspective (shared pens), nor privacy, or being able to quickly process it hours or days later when it’s in use. Other venues and providers quickly took up the good ol QR code, linking customers to a form to provide their contact details  – while great for processing the data later and privacy from other patrons, the venue still has access to your customer details, and each venue uses their own form platforms.

From Google Docs, to Microsoft Office forms, to ‘survey links’, or my personal favourite, a MailChimp signup form (!), Service NSW spotted a gap in the market, and has now launched their own COVID Safe check-in product – putting privacy, as well as ease of use & speed front and centre – to better assist with contact tracing.

Using the existing Service NSW app (which already has 2.2 million installs, from a total of over 5 million accounts) – and c’mon, digital licences, why wouldn’t you – visitors can scan the QR code at a participating venue (which Service NSW offers to anyone who registers as a COVID Safe business), the Service NSW app then uses your existing name & phone number, and then the best part – stores this data at Service NSW – not at the venue.

From a privacy point of view, this mean’s that Bob’s Burger Bar doesn’t have a record of Beau’s visit and his number – avoiding people looking you up on Facebook later, or ‘accidentally’ opting you into  marketing material – while complying with the requirements of the public health orders.

“Customers can already use their Service NSW app to complete a number of transactions, so it makes sense for them to be able to use it to check-in to venues as well,” Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said.  

“The app is safe, easy to use and helps NSW Health officials contact customers quicker in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak by providing them with more accurate records.

“The check-in automatically captures the date, time and location, and securely stores them on a NSW Government database for the sole purpose of contact tracing. After 28 days, the data is destroyed.

“We will work closely with industry to encourage them to adopt our QR code. The service is free for businesses, and helps them comply with their obligations under the Public Health Orders.

For example, here’s the Walcha Road Hotel code page (blurred, so you can’t all just checkin for fun (via EFTM)

 Service NSW is a free download from the Apple App Store, or Google Play – and you can use the COVID Safe check-in feature without creating an account if you would rather not opt into a MyServiceNSW account (or you’re from outside New South Wales) – just provide your name and number and the app will remember it next time you visit a participating venue.

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