‘Most’ accept system

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Scanning...Bree Pickett in action with the NZ COVID Tracer QR code at Quins Pharmacy.

Walking into a shop with your head buried in your cellphone has become a socially considerate thing to do in the era of Covid-19.

New Government regulations mean that from today all shops and businesses are required to display the official NZ Covid Tracer app QR code.

Customers and clients can scan the code with their cellphones, leaving a record of where they been and at what time.

Mataura Licensing Trust operations manager Bob Vercoe said using the the QR code was a matter of personal responsibility.

“Most people accept it but there’s always that 1% that baulk a wee bit,” Mr Vercoe said.

Auckland was a good example of how it could be necessary to quickly trace where somebody had been to stop the virus spreading, he said.

“It only takes one person on a plane.”

Quins Pharmacy owner Stephen Gemmill said his store had been displaying the QR code for several weeks.

Some customers used it although they were still a minority, he said.

“There was initially some concern about privacy.”

Customers would occasionally express such a concern and he had felt a little hesitant about the tracer app system himself.

However, he was now using the code and believed others should do so, too.

“We’ve seen how important it is to have contact tracing.

“It’s a great use of tech.”

The store was keeping a paper register available, too.

As a healthcare provider, it was especially important to follow the Ministry of Health’s steps to protect people from the pandemic, he said.

Capri Restaurant owner Steven Tutty said the restaurant had put up the QR code as soon as the return to Level 2 was announced.

“A lot of people are using them and a lot of people aren’t,” Mr Tutty said.

Travellers in particular were happy to scan and were more careful, he said.

Others were not so keen.

“Some of the locals are just over it.

“I think they’re a great idea. They’re an easy system to use.”

People could simply scan the code to record their information rather than writing out their details.

However, the store also had a register available for people to fill out if they preferred.

Farmlands Gore business manager Melissa King said the QR code system was an efficient way of keeping track of people coming in and out.

“When [the pandemic] first started we had to have someone at the door getting people to record their details,” Mrs King said.

Instead of a register the business now had the QR code displayed at the entrance to the store and at the front counter.

“We’re encouraging people to use them.”

She had found customers to be receptive to this way of keeping track of people, no-one seeming reluctant to reach for their cellphone.

It was important for people to be getting behind the push to record people’s movements, she said.

“Because of Covid-19 .. It’s important to protect our nation.”

In contrast to this deVine Hair and Beauty part-owner Kristy McKenzie said she had not yet seen a single person use the store’s QR code.

However, there was a reason for this.

“We have a sign up telling people if they don’t have an appointment they need to ring,” Mrs McKenzie said.

“Even if someone just walked in wanting an appointment we would still get their name and number.”

Because of this booking system it was easy for the beauty salon to keep track of clients.

“People have been really good at understanding the safety measures.”

It was important to keep people safe during a pandemic which clients understood.

The store was also keeping a manual register for couriers and a few clients had used this to give their details.

The QR code system was “a really good idea”, she said.