COVID-19 Update: NSW Businesses to use Service NSW QR Code

As of January 1, 2021 certain NSW business will be required to use a Service NSW QR code.
December 28, 2020

New South Wales (NSW) businesses have been required to use QR codes for customers to check into their business since the end of November. In an announcement made on Monday, NSW health minister Brad Hazard stated that the Service NSW QR code check-in system will be required to be used by certain businesses.

What is the Service NSW QR code system?

The Service NSW QR code system is a free QR code system provided by the NSW government. When a customer comes into a business using this code system, they must have the Service NSW app installed on their smartphone. Upon scanning the QR code with their smartphone, they are then taken to the check-in on the app. A staff member is then required to verify that the customer successfully checked into the location. 

The benefits of this code system is that businesses don't have to store customers' information on the premises. When a customer scans a business's QR code, the system sends the customer's information directly to Service NSW. This means that NSW Health has direct access to the information if it is needed in relation to a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Visit the NSW government's QR codes information page for more information on the code system and how to set up your business's QR code. 

What businesses need to use the Service NSW QR code system?

As of January 1, 2021, all hospitality venues are required to use the NSW government's QR code system and have a Service NSW QR code. This means that for these businesses, customers will need to have the Service NSW app installed on their smartphone in order to record their visit to the premises. Any of these businesses that do not comply will face a fine of $5,000.

This a big change from earlier QR code requirements for NSW businesses, where all businesses were permitted to use their own QR codes. There was always the option to use the Service NSW QR codes, but it was not mandatory.

Other than hospitality venues (and hairdressers), all other venues only need to use some type of QR code system and are not required to use the NSW government's QR code system at this time. 

Why are Service NSW QR codes required for certain businesses?

The NSW government has decided to require hospitality venues to use the Service NSW QR code system in order to help improve contact tracing. NSW government officials have stated inaccurate information was coming from some businesses using their own QR codes.

Some customers have been caught using fake names or phone numbers, which works against the purpose of the QR codes. This is particularly concerning in hospitality venues where there are different customers every day and people are in close proximity to each other. For these types of businesses, ensuring accurate contact tracing is vital. 

The Service NSW QR codes help contact tracers do their job accurately and successfully. Inaccurate or incomplete information is making contact tracing a struggle. With more businesses using same system, contact tracing will improve and so will curbing the spread of COVID-19.

For more information, visit the NSW government's Electronic Check-in Guidance and QR Codes page.