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COVID SAFE: How you can still eat out without a smartphone

Those who don’t own a smartphone need not fear they won’t be able to eat out due to the change in contact tracing legislation.

Fraser Coast venues have a range of options in place to ensure everyone can go out for a meal including QR codes, text messages and digital check-in devices at the door.

Queensland Health also confirmed paper contact tracing forms can still be used if the information is transferred into a digital portal within 24 hours.

As part of the state’s contact tracing regimen, hospitality venues such as pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes must obtain the details of all guests and staff upon check-in.

Since paperless record keeping was introduced on December 23, 2020, they must only store such details electronically.

The change came in response to the high-risk nature of the hospitality industry and to address the issues with manual registers such as incomplete details or illegible handwriting.

But members of the community still seem confused by how those without smartphones can check in to restaurants.

In a statement to the Chronicle, a Queensland Health spokesperson said venues can choose the means by which the collect and store information.

“ … as long as it is done electronically and is accurate, thorough, easily retrievable and is managed in a way that protects privacy,” they said.

Electronic means anything from QR codes, online fillable forms, online booking systems and digital spreadsheets.

Maryborough RSL’s Siona O’Regan said the club still had their usual check-in processes for members, and visitors without capable devices could send a text message.

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Hervey Bay RSL’s CEO Jason Lynch said they still have paper check-ins available that staff transfer to a digital portal.

Members can also still swipe their cards and for visitors the club will scan their license and record a mobile number.

“But for those who enter who don’t have a smartphone or driver’s license, we log them in through our COVID app and sign them out when they leave,” Mr Lynch said.

The Old Sydney Hotel in Maryborough have tablets and chromebooks to complete the digital check ins for those without smartphones and those that have older phones with QR reader installed.

The Queensland Health spokesperson said they will consider in coming weeks whether to implement such rules in other business sectors.

“For the moment, however, our absolute focus is on venues where larger crowds of people gather and mingle for longer periods of time, two factors that significantly raise the risk of infection.”

The maximum penalty for businesses that do not comply is 100 penalty units or six months imprisonment.


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