Many businesses and event organisers have been confused about the government’s requirement for mandatory record keeping at “busy places and events”, which come into force a week after the next Alert Level change.
Record keeping involves collecting the details of all workers and customers who visit a workplace or location, either by scanning the Covid-19 QR code, or writing details in a book – something many businesses have been doing for some time.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced the introduction of mandatory record keeping on August 22, saying that “… those responsible for businesses and events will need to ensure people keep a record when they visit…” However, later in the same statement, Minister Hipkins said: “The obligation will be on the person responsible for the place or gathering to ensure people can scan or sign in.”
This caused confusion and anger as many businesses and event organisers felt that the onus could be on already stretched staff to enforce scanning.
Hibiscus Matters sought definitive clarification of the new rules from Government, and eventually a spokesperson for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet provided this.
The spokesperson confirmed that while businesses and busy places/events are required to take steps to ensure customers can easily make a record, if someone refuses to scan in, businesses should not force anyone to scan in or provide their details for contact tracing purposes.
“Businesses and locations are also not required to turn people away who may refuse to make a record of their visit. The responsibility lies with individuals to record visits – not the businesses they visit,” the spokesperson says.
Labour list MP Marja Lubeck further confirmed this, saying that businesses do not have to take any action that could put their workers’ health and safety at risk.
The differences that are being introduced is that this record keeping – which must include more than one way to record a visit for people who can’t scan QR codes – is extended to a wider range of businesses and events than previously, and that the systems must be available at all Alert Levels.
The information can be found at covid19.govt.nz/business-and-money/businesses/record-keeping-and-contact-tracing