The Check In CBR app will be mandatory from this Saturday (6 March), with $1000 fines for individuals and $5000 fines for businesses caught flouting the new rules.
Businesses listed as “restricted” will need to use the app, including cafés, restaurants, clubs, beauty salons, hairdressers, adult services, swimming pools, fitness centres, cultural institutions, gaming and gambling venues, and entertainment venues.
More than 8,000 businesses and almost 400,000 people have downloaded the app as of Wednesday morning (3 March).
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the take up of the app, which has become mandatory to coincide with the start of the Enlighten Festival’s Balloon Spectacular, is integral to reducing the time it takes to contact trace outbreaks.
This could potentially avoid the need for isolated lockdowns if a community case emerges, she said.
“If we do have a case in the ACT, we need to get onto the contact tracing really quickly. The quicker we can do that, the quicker our health officials can access information about who has been in a venue where a positive case was [and] the less likely we will need to lockdown or put our restrictions back,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
“It can save hours per business, potentially that is saving half a day or a day in overall contact tracing time and making sure that our contact tracers can identify high-risk venues and do that first. People also forget all the places they have been, and if they are using Check In CBR then all those locations are available.”
Canberra Business Chamber CEO Graham Catt said the business community supports the rollout of the app but that there are some concerns with its implementation.
“What businesses need more than anything is to have customers in the business. They are wary of the impact that lockdowns and border closures have on customer confidence,” Mr Catt said.
“[Quick contact tracing] is the key to addressing these things … but on the other side, there are questions about how the Government will work with businesses to transition.
“How will the new rules work on the ground and be monitored? Businesses are taking responsibility here. Unfortunately, there are also people who cop abuse when they ask customers [to use the app].”
Businesses will need to set up a profile to ensure they can check-in people who do not have a smartphone or access to the app and must take reasonable steps to ensure patrons check-in.
The data is only accessed by ACT Health if it is needed for contact tracing purposes and contact details are deleted after 28 days.
To register your business, visit Check In CBR.