Hospitality venues must display QR codes as tracing app goes live

Hospitality venues in England are now required by law to display QR codes, which users of the NHS Covid-19 app can scan to check-in.

The NHS Covid-19 app, which has been rolled out across England and Wales to those aged 16 and over, aims to help track and trace transmission of the virus.

The app uses Bluetooth for contact tracing and issues alerts if a user has been in close proximity to someone with Covid-19.

People can also use the app to check in to venues on their smartphone by scanning QR-codes displayed at restaurants, pubs, bars and other businesses.

Hospitality outlets in England will face £1,000 fines if they do not display an official Track and Trace poster, featuring their assigned QR code.

In England, but not in Wales, app users that check-in using the NHS app do not have to leave their name and contact details with the hospitality venue. In Wales it also not a legal requirement for outlets to display the code, however venues in both countries are required to comply with track and trace.

“Venues in Wales that are legally required to collect and keep a record of visitors will still need to do so,” the statement from the Department of Health and Social Care reads.

Over 160,000 businesses have already downloaded QR codes, the government says, and it is hoped that they will help businesses meet their track and trace obligations.

The app will alert users if they have recently visited a place where they have come into contact with someone who has later tested positive for Covid-19.

Users can anonymously record if they test positive for the virus. This then sends an alert to those they have been in close contact with, requiring them to self-isolate. A timer feature will show them for how long they need to remain in confinement, and access will be provided to relevant advice.

The app also provides details on the risk level in the local area, plus a symptom checker and test booking service.

The app can be downloaded here. Hospitality outlets can apply for their personalised QR code here. 

Scotland launched its own tracing app earlier this month, while Northern Ireland is set to roll out a new version of its StopCovid NI app to the under-19s this month.

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