Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the check-in app would provide “relevant, legible and timely” information to help respond to an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
She named testing and contact tracing as her government’s best tools in fighting the pandemic.
“Over the past 12 months, we have relied on our team of contact tracers to quickly identify and assist anyone who may have been exposed to the virus,” Palaszczuk said.
“That’s why, from Saturday 1 May 2021, we’re making Check In Qld mandatory for most hospitality businesses in Queensland,” she said.
The announcement came the night before the Palaszczuk government lifted a three-day snap lockdown of Greater Brisbane after two clusters of the UK variant of COVID-19 emerged in southeast Queensland, forcing many businesses, especially hospitality venues, to close.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) said its own survey revealed that small to medium enterprises expected to lose between $12,000 and $65,000 due to loss of stock and trade as a result of the Greater Brisbane lockdown over the last few days.
Going forward, the government is encouraging all Queenslanders with a smartphone to download the “Check In Qld” app from Google Play or Apple App Stores.
The premier noted that one benefit of the app was that users only enter their details once for all future check-ins at participating businesses.
“When we work together and do our part to comply with Public Health Directions, we can look forward to better days ahead, with eased restrictions and greater confidence while visiting venues,” she said.
Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young said the mandate was necessary after “dozens of restaurants and cafes” were named during contact tracing efforts.
“We all understand the threat the virus poses in confined, enclosed spaces—even when people are practising social distancing and hand hygiene–and as we work to contain the highly-contagious UK variant, we must do everything possible to assist our health authorities,” Young said.
The government said more than 13,500 businesses have already registered to use the app since it was launched one month ago.
“The new mandate will ensure that wherever Queenslanders drink or dine, their records will be kept securely,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said. “I hope this move will bring customers greater peace of mind when choosing to dine-in at Queensland’s great pubs, restaurants and cafes.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the app would remove the burden of electronic record-keeping, and she encouraged businesses to register before May 1.
Microsoft Azure hosts the back end of the system, and the government says that the app’s data will be stored for 56 days and will only be accessed for contact tracing purposes.