Check In CBR app becomes mandatory, $1000 fines apply for not checking in

Dominic Giannini 5 March 2021 75
The Check In CBR app

The Check In CBR app will be mandatory from 6 March. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

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.


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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.”


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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.


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75 Responses to Check In CBR app becomes mandatory, $1000 fines apply for not checking in
nickwest nickwest 4:46 pm 11 Mar 21

I’m generally pro-privacy, and I find it fascinating how many people are ranting on here about protecting privacy, while they are logged on to the Riot-Act via facebook.

Barrie Ridgway Barrie Ridgway 1:43 pm 11 Mar 21

As usual , things not thought through. Make it mandatory, impose $1000 , but then what about those people who do not have mobile phones, or like myself, an age pensioner with a phone that doesn't have the memory space to download the app. Surely the Dept of Health and its minister just do not think very much at all, What am I to do? get a new phone? Will the Dept of Health send me a new phone? Or am I illegally withheld from any store in Canberra?

    Nick Staniforth Nick Staniforth 4:53 pm 11 Mar 21

    I know the feeling, Barrie - my old flip phone doesn't cut the mustard either. But there is a back-up system everywhere I have been so far, where you can give name and phone number, and they enter it in for you. Bit of a nuisance for sure, but being able to contact trace does seem to have been our best defence so far :)

    Barrie Ridgway Barrie Ridgway 5:00 pm 11 Mar 21

    Thanks, Nick

Acton Acton 6:32 pm 08 Mar 21

In September 2020 Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said:

“This all continues to be voluntary, we don’t require people to provide their contact details but we really encourage them to.”

Now, despite there being no cases, minimal risk of transmission and breaking her previous undertaking, this local politician makes the app mandatory, without debate or public consultation, imposing potentially large fines on businesses and individuals who fail to comply with her dictates. Why?
Will provision of private contact details next be made mandatory when visiting every shop and any place humans gather? Everyone should be alarmed when a government removes basic rights and freedoms by stealth.

    JC JC 7:38 am 12 Mar 21

    A little bit of selective quoting there. At that time there was and there still is a requirement to provide contact details to certain businesses. Mainly ones where you are sat in close proximity to others for a reasonable amount of time.

    I just googled your quote and it was in relation to the app specifically not giving contact details as such. .

    So sure there has been a change in that the app is now compulsory, but the reality is the basic requirement to provide contact details at certain business has not changed. All that has is the method of providing said information.

    And I suspect the compulsory nature of the method is to keep in step with NSW which has also mandated use of the Service NSW app.

Roger Russu Roger Russu 4:03 pm 08 Mar 21

Daniela Sarah maybe show dad this

Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 12:17 pm 08 Mar 21

With the NSW app you sign in and then out.

Why with the ACT one is it just signing in?

    Jane Kim Jane Kim 2:00 pm 08 Mar 21

    Mary Kingsford different app. The NSW one is part of a bigger site. The ACT’s is far easier.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:30 pm 08 Mar 21

    Jane Kim I gave up on the NSW one. Too complicated for me. Passports, codes, email address, log in numbers. I was going around in circles. The ACT one is really simple.

    Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 4:36 pm 08 Mar 21

    Jane Kim I understand that, but you're never signing out of a location in the ACT.

    Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 4:37 pm 08 Mar 21

    Julie Macklin it wasn't that hard, no more detail that's required for anything else.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:44 pm 08 Mar 21

    I can't just pick it up and use it without a code number. I can't remember what that is, so it then wanted to send a code to my email. I ONLY do email on my computer and have never set my phone up for that. So I had to wait until I got home. I still couldn't get it to work. I gave up. I do very little on my phone. I use a computer mostly. The ACT app gave me no problems though.

    Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 4:46 pm 08 Mar 21

    Julie Macklin I see. That's just to set it up.

    From then on, you don't need to do that.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:50 pm 08 Mar 21

    Mary Kingsford I can't use the NSW app then if I can't get it to set up.

    Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 4:51 pm 08 Mar 21

    Julie Macklin do you need help to set it up?

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 6:54 pm 08 Mar 21

    Julie Macklin With the NSW app, if you don’t have it installed, you can scan the code with your camera and be directed to a web page login form instead.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:00 pm 08 Mar 21

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart I'll try that next time. Thanks.

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 11:59 am 08 Mar 21

I got bailed up at the Telstra shop on Friday, telling me it was mandatory!🤨

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:41 pm 12 Mar 21

    Kerri Hallas Its not mandatory for a shop like Telstra, but they are within their rights if they want to make it a condition of entry which is what Telstra appear to be doing. Telstra won't get fined as they are not a restricted business where it is madatory for shop and customer to comply.

JS9 JS9 9:20 am 08 Mar 21

Gosh there is some good rambling in the comments on here – unless people have really got something to hide, I’m not sure what the big fuss is to be honest. But then again, I don’t naturally see ‘hidden conspiracy’ in absolutely everything either…. 😛

    Acton Acton 10:03 am 08 Mar 21

    Try to see it as a principle. Once rights and freedoms are removed they are not easily clawed back. Totalitarianism succeeds by removing basic rights and freedoms first, then others later. People who fail to protest the removal of their long held rights and freedoms are condoning if not supporting the creep and then onslaught of totalitarianism. Every citizen of a democratic society has a duty to defend these rights and freedoms their ancestors fought for.

    keek keek 8:56 am 09 Mar 21

    The old “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear argument” was the kind of thing used by the Stasi and Soviet secret police. It is about the right to privacy. You give yours up willingly like a good little sheep if you like. I certainly won’t.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:00 pm 07 Mar 21

“The data is only accessed by ACT Health if it is needed for contact tracing purposes and contact details are deleted after 28 days.”

Are we to believe that if there is another wave or indeed another pandemic after the 28 days when the data is deleted the government will repeat the whole exercise in data gathering for Check In CBR app 2.0 ?

Maya123 Maya123 12:36 pm 07 Mar 21

All these complaints. Come on, this isn’t onerous, and what have you all got to hide in your secret, mysterious lives? For most people it will be turn on the app and a quick point of it at the image. All done. Enjoy your coffee. Shhhuu, we won’t tell anyone you had coffee if you don’t want us to.

A very FEW won’t be able to use the app. They can be signed in.

    Acton Acton 10:16 am 08 Mar 21

    Those who don’t get it have never lived in a country where rights and freedoms are stripped away bit by bit while a docile and compliant population is too daft to realize what is happening and just bleats that it is not an onerous imposition. Not this or the next or the next. Those who fail to proect ther rights are freedoms neither fought for them or deserve them.

    Maya123 Maya123 4:19 pm 08 Mar 21

    And look where that attitude got the USA during Covid. No thank you.

    Acton Acton 6:07 pm 08 Mar 21

    With that attitude you would prefer to live in modern China with its constant surveillance and intrusive controls on everyday life, where every aspect of life is subject to centralised rule . Those who have such little regard or willingness to protect basic freedoms and liberties end up in a Stalinist or North Korean type dictatorship. No, I prefer Australia as it was pre-Covid. Without apps to monitor where I have a cup of coffee and all the other potential abuses. USA mid Covid is preferable to a society based on controls, monitoring, irrationality and fear-mongering. The greatest danger to a democracy is complacency, or willful complicity in anti-democratic actions.

    Maya123 Maya123 9:58 pm 08 Mar 21

    We all preferred Australia pre Covid, but that’s not reality. Oh the good old days. And you are being irrational and paranoid.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:25 am 07 Mar 21

I was at a cafe in Canberra yesterday with 3 other adults. The waiter said it wasn’t necessary for all of us to check in with the app, only one per table was required.

    JC JC 5:10 pm 08 Mar 21

    If that’s person is checking in for you then true. If not then each person needs to check in themselves.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:07 pm 08 Mar 21

    I can see the logic in what you say and thanks but this assumes that the person checking the others in knows who the others are and has their contact numbers etc.

    The flaw is that they may be casual acquittances who may be unable to be tracked if needed.

    JS9 JS9 8:37 am 09 Mar 21

    So you turn up to cafes and sit down for a lunch with people who you don’t even know their names then CR?

    Surely across a group someone can give enough information between them to have a reasonable shot at tracking them down – unless you truly do just invite a random off the street to dine with you!

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:07 am 12 Mar 21

    I don’t invite people off the street to dine with me but if there is space at the table I am at I am happy to share the table with them.

    It’s a great way to meet new people too (which may be a new experience for a lot of people in the Canberra bubble).

garyfrancis garyfrancis 8:32 am 07 Mar 21

Under what rule, law or legislation is this being bought to us via?

    JC JC 5:15 pm 08 Mar 21

    Public Health Act 1997 is the legal instrument that gives the Chief Medical Officer powers to call a Public Health Emergency and to issue public health directions.

    If you really care you can Google and read the actual act and directions.

garyfrancis garyfrancis 7:37 am 07 Mar 21

Please read the Consolidated commonwealth Law: The Privacy Act 1988 Section 94.

this is an act of parliament not some trump’ed up local “rule”.

http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/pa1988108/s94h.html

(c) refuses to allow another person to enter:

(i) premises that are otherwise accessible to the public; or

(ii) premises that the other person has a right to enter; or

(d) refuses to allow another person to participate in an activity; or

(e) refuses to receive goods or services from another person, or insists on providing less monetary consideration for the goods or services; or

(f) refuses to provide goods or services to another person, or insists on receiving more monetary consideration for the goods or services;

on the ground that, or on grounds that include the ground that, the other person:

(g) has not downloaded COVIDSafe to a communication device; or

(h) does not have COVIDSafe in operation on a communication device; or

(i) has not consented to uploading COVID app data from a communication device to the National COVIDSafe Data Store.

    Smackbang Smackbang 12:11 pm 07 Mar 21

    Completely irrelevant. This provision has precisely nothing to do with the use of the Check In CBR app. It relates only to the COVIDSafe app.

Acton Acton 7:20 am 07 Mar 21

The ACMA has helpfully created fake phone and mobile numbers for various purposes, like when you are compelled to give a tracking phone number to an intrusive Orwellian government app.
The number for the ACT is (02) 5550 xxxx.

Any four last numbers.

thebadtouch thebadtouch 5:14 pm 06 Mar 21

And how long will this ridiculous requirement remain with us? Don’t be surprised if you find the government still tracking you in 2030.

I agree with Brigid Whitbread’s comment – no community transmission in the act for about 9 months. What is really going on?

What is the legislation underpinning this requirement?

    JS9 JS9 12:21 pm 08 Mar 21

    To be fair, if you own a mobile phone that was made in about the last 10 years, the Government can pretty easily pull out sufficient information to track you anyway…..

    JC JC 5:17 pm 08 Mar 21

    Government has been able to do that since GSM phones came into being. It was a bit harder with old analogue phones.

    What has changed in the last 10 years is we willingly give that information to private business without even trying just by installing apps on smart phones.

    JS9 JS9 8:40 am 09 Mar 21

    Very true JC – as you say a lot of information is given away voluntarily, and with pretty much every phone having GPS in it these days (of some form), its even easier than it once was.

    I just don’t get the huge uproar on this issue – some are reacting like tomorrow we will have a burning down of the Legislative Assembly and a Night of the Long Knives to follow….

Marjeta Marks Marjeta Marks 8:58 am 06 Mar 21

What about those with really old phones that dont have the tec to enable scanning. Like half of the over 70' peps i know. Are they banned? What a croc of garbage. Like to see that stand up in court. Its discrimination. There had better be a manual non tec option to sign in.

    Alley Hunter Alley Hunter 12:14 pm 06 Mar 21

    Marjeta Marks then it's up to the business to sign you in using their business account

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:00 pm 06 Mar 21

    The same as what happens to ACT people who visit another state and don't have their app. They sign you in, as happened when I visited Sydney recently. (Still trying to get that NSW app to work. More complicated than our easy app, because of what it has been included with. Therefore higher security. Needing a password to work it....) Be grateful our app is so simple to use.

Mark Monterosso Mark Monterosso 8:58 am 06 Mar 21

What happens if you don't have a phone?

    Alley Hunter Alley Hunter 12:13 pm 06 Mar 21

    Mark Monterosso then the business need to sign you in

Dee Tee Dee Tee 11:42 pm 05 Mar 21

Sarah big brother is watching

Jayne Denise Jayne Denise 10:33 pm 05 Mar 21

Donna Gorham have you heard if we need to do this ??

    Donna Gorham Donna Gorham 8:57 am 06 Mar 21

    Jayne Denise not us. Restricted businesses like cafes, gyms etc

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:59 pm 05 Mar 21

In light of this –

https://the-riotact.com/act-government-systems-not-rated-to-receive-security-classified-information/430823

and the fact that there are many people who live in and visit this town whose private activities would be of interest to hackers, let’s hope the ACT government’s belated burst of zeal on this topic is matched by some serious cyber security for the information now being demanded.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 8:10 pm 05 Mar 21

I find it interesting that the app doesn’t attempt to verify any information given to it. It will gladly accept obviously fake names and numbers. Verifying names is difficult (and not such a big deal if you have a verified phone number) but verifying a mobile number by SMS is a trivial task which I’m surprised hasn’t been implemented. It makes the app no more useful than the pen and paper method.

    G'Lyz Wogly G'Lyz Wogly 9:55 am 08 Mar 21

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart you are missing the point. It doesn’t matter what information you check in with. Once it’s on your phone and you check in, your GPS is tracked

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 6:13 pm 08 Mar 21

    G'Lyz Wogly But the app only asks for camera permissions, not location service permission?

    G'Lyz Wogly G'Lyz Wogly 6:47 pm 08 Mar 21

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart people are so naive. Why then would the government allow you to put in a fake name

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