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Australia Canberra check-in app for businesses mandated as COVID-19 restrictions ease in the ACT

23:00  18 february  2021
23:00  18 february  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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a person using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: The Check In CBR app will be mandatory in the ACT from March 6. (Supplied: ACT Government) © Provided by ABC Health The Check In CBR app will be mandatory in the ACT from March 6. (Supplied: ACT Government)

Standing while drinking at the pub and gathering at maximum capacity for spectator sport will both be permitted in the ACT from tomorrow, as life in the capital gradually returns to a semblance of normality.

But the return of these popular Australian past-times comes with a caveat: the Check In CBR app will be mandatory for all restricted businesses and patrons from March 6.

The app has already been downloaded more than 335,000 times in the ACT and is widely used, including by about 6,500 businesses, but has until now been voluntary.

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Businesses expected to comply include cafés, restaurants, clubs, beauty salons, hairdressers, adult services, swimming pools, fitness centres, cultural institutions, gaming and gambling venues, and entertainment venues.

App mandate will help economic recovery: Cheyne

ACT businesses until now have had two choices: either use the app and cater to one person per two square metres, or don't use it and operate at a capacity of one person per four square metres.

In just over two weeks, the app will be the only option.

"With the app becoming mandatory, restricted businesses will need to take reasonable steps to ensure patrons check into their venues," the ACT government said.

"Ensuring our contact tracers have quick access to contact information is critical to our ability to respond to cases in a timely way, and protects the community.

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"A new business profile has also been developed for the app to enable patrons who don’t have a smartphone to be checked-in by the venue on their behalf, removing the need for any pen and paper records."

Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Tara Cheyne, said by mandating the Check-in CBR app, they hoped to hasten the ACT's progress towards economic recovery.

"We have seen in other jurisdictions that when the check-in process is mandated, there is an increase in compliance rates, and that is what we want to see here in the ACT," Ms Cheyne said.

"Canberrans have already been so supportive of our compliance activities, because they know that local businesses rely on us all doing the right thing.

"By mandating the use of Check In CBR for both businesses and patrons, we will be much better able to enter the next phase of our economic recovery."

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Ahead of the mandate coming into force, restrictions will ease this weekend.

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The changes, which will come into force from 9:00am Saturday, include allowing for larger crowd sizes at events, venues and stadiums.

The government said while the restrictions would lift for events and venues, anyone running such a business or event would still be expected to notify ACT Health and have an approved COVID Safety Plan.

The eased restrictions include:

  • Event organisers will be able to apply to host gatherings of up to 10,000, up from 8,000 people
  • Outdoor gatherings can increase in size from 500 to 1,000 people
  • Cinemas and large indoor performance venues will be able to increase their capacity from 65 per cent to 75 per cent
  • GIO Stadium, Manuka Oval and other outdoor enclosed venues can increase to 100 per cent capacity seating
  • Patrons can stand while drinking alcohol, as well as eating, in indoor and outdoor spaces
  • The cap of 500 people within each indoor and outdoor space has been lifted

What remains unchanged is the limit on how many people can gather inside a business: 25 people are permitted across the venue, and if an operator wishes to have more, they should apply the rules of one person per two square metres of usable space inside each indoor and outdoor space.

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The government said it expected the new rules to remain in place for some months as the ACT moved towards a "COVID normal" existence.

"Businesses will also continue to be required to have a COVID Safety Plan which must be able to be produced if requested," the government said.

"These plans should also be reviewed by all businesses in response to the new check in requirements."

The restrictions will lift ahead of the expected rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, February 22.

On Thursday, the ACT government confirmed some aged care residences would start getting the Pfizer jab on that day.

The first to get the vaccine will be in the suburbs of Curtin, Farrer, Garran, Griffith, Hughes, Narrabundah, Red Hill, Stirling and Weston.

More details about the vaccine rollout in the ACT are yet to be announced.

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