Please read this important information for all local businesses.
New COVID check in requirements come into force at 1 AM on Friday, July 9, 2021.
These have not been very well communicated, but failure to comply comes at the risk of steep fines – 100 penalty units – or six months imprisonment.
CHECK IN QLD APP MANDATORY
From July 9, all businesses and undertakings listed on the Chief Health Officer’s “Schedule 1 a, b, or c” must check in every customer or client using the Check In Qld app.
This list has been expanded significantly and is now very extensive. I have summarised these below, by category, and given you a link to the actual order as well. But first …
We already Use Another System or QR Code
I am concerned that many Gregory businesses do not realise they will have to cease using all other systems and be using the Queensland Government’s Check In Qld app by 1 AM, Friday July 9.
I know many of our accommodation and hospitality businesses are already using a QR Code to do this, but you will still have to change to the Check In Qld app.
I know other businesses who have been using their electronic appointments booking system. You will still have to add the Check In Qld app.
Supporting Our Contact Tracers
Everyone has to change to, or start using, the Check In Qld app.
This change is to make the job of our COVID19 contact tracers easier. It aims to capture every visitor to a premises in case it becomes an exposure site.
The app also ensures that all the contact data can be sent electronically, quickly and safely to a Queensland Health officer if it turns out to be needed. It ensures they receive it in a clear and useful format.
Individual Obligation to Comply
All individuals, with the exception of unaccompanied children under the age of 16, must use the app when entering a premises with the check in requirement.
Individuals who do not comply face the same penalties of a 100 Penalty Unit fine or six months imprisonment.
How do I get it as a Business Owner?
As a business or service, you need to register for the app, which you can do here. Scroll down and click on “I’m a Business Owner”. It is free. It doesn’t cost you anything.
It is taking about two to three days to process registrations, so you need to apply by the middle of next week.
What Happens Next?
You will be emailed a pack which includes guidelines for use and your QR Code posters for printing and display.
Apply for Each Venue Separately
If your business operates from more than one premises, you will need to apply for each venue separately. This is because the QR Code is unique to each site.
I have had to register my Longreach office separately from my Emerald office. This is because if there is an exposure at one office, Queensland Health will only want the contact information for that particular office.
The process is very easy, but you need to have it completed and in place by 1 AM on July 9.
How Do I Get it as a Customer?
As the new requirements cover essential businesses including supermarkets and grocers, community centres, banks, pharmacies, hardware stores and all types of retail stores, we are all going to have to use it – and often.
You need to download the App from your App store. For Apple phones that is the Apple app store. For Android phones that is the Google app store.
Just go to the app store and put “Check In Qld” in the search window. It will bring up the App and you can follow the prompts to install it. It is free.
How Do I Use it as a Customer?
When you need to use it, open the app, centre the screen on the business’s QR Code and press the check in button that will appear on your screen.
That is all there is to it. You’ll hear a chime and get a big tick on the screen to tell you you’ve done it.
Space for a Guest
You will see there is also the ability to check in a “guest” – anyone who is accompanying you, if they don’t want to check in themselves. This is particularly useful if a child is with you or if you are helping a friend who isn’t technically confident.
What To Do if You Can’t Use the App?
Obviously, there might be times when the App can’t be used. The internet may go down, or there may be no coverage in your area. The customer may not have a smart phone.
Sign Them In Under Your Business Profile
If a customer doesn’t have a smart phone, the business owner can check them in under their own “Business Profile” screen. Alternatively, you could sign them in as a “Guest”.
In the case of a lack of internet, the business owner must still gather the information – name, phone contact and email contact – and record it as soon as possible to an electronic record, like a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet must be kept so it can be emailed to Queensland Health contact tracers if required.
Which Businesses Have to Get This?
This is a long list, so if you are not interested please scroll past it to read an update on Queensland lock downs, exposure venues, and the testing and vaccination options in Gregory, given the current outbreaks in Queensland.
Activities and Businesses who must use the Check In Qld App from July 9
Retail food services including cafes, restaurants, fast-food outlets and food courts in shopping centres
Entertainment venues including nightclubs, pubs, licensed clubs, RSL clubs, function centres, bars, wineries, distilleries and microbreweries, and licensed premises in hotels, casinos, gambling and gaming venues
Property Sales including auction houses, real estate auctions and open house inspections
Beauty and personal care including hairdressers, beauty therapists, nail services (including manicures, pedicures)
Personal appearance services where skin penetration is used such as cosmetic injections, tattooing, body piercing, skin implants, hair implants, micro-needling Massage – both therapeutic and non-therapeutic
Day spas and wellness centres
Water-based spa services such as saunas, bathhouses and floatation services
Major sports stadiums, concert venues, theatres, auditoriums and cinemas Show Grounds, convention centres, theme parks, outdoor amusement parks, tourism experiences and arcades, indoor play centres
Zoos, aquariums and wildlife centres
Galleries, museums, historic sites, libraries
Indoor Events – for example cultural festivals, eisteddfods, fetes and markets
Outdoor Events – sporting events, fun runs, carnivals, fetes, marathons, festivals
Leisure and recreation Gyms, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre, spin facilities, dance studios, boot camps and personal training
Indoor sporting centres and venues
Indoor social sporting-based activities
Community sports clubs and swimming pools
Hotels and Motels
Caravan and camping parks
Hostels, bed and breakfasts, backpackers, boarding houses
Short term rentals and short term accommodation (for example, serviced apartments including holiday rentals, holiday accommodation or hosting accommodation like Air Bnb)
Community facilities such as community centres, neighbourhood centres, halls such as church, school or QCWA halls, recreation centres, youth centres, community clubs, RSL clubs and PCYCs
Places of Worship – churches and indoor places of worship
Education - Universities and other higher education institutions such as TAFEs and RTOs
Retail Goods and Services
Retail shopping centres, department stores,
Pharmacies, supermarkets, grocers, bakeries, butcher's shops, fishmongers, convenience stores, delicatessens,
Furniture stores, electrical stores, recreational goods stores
Clothing and footwear stores
Agricultural or industrial businesses which sell to the public
Indoor and outdoor food, craft or other markets
Bank branches (but not ATMs)
Customer service branches of insurers
Any part of a government service which normally deals with the public – for example, customer service centres providing information, licensing and registration services for members of the public.
You can read the original health direction here. Truly, the list is so long but the process is so easy. You have to use this by law, but if worse comes to worst, it is our own communities we will be saving by checking in everywhere we visit.
COVID19 On the Loose in Qld
As I write this, Queensland’s mistakes have plunged some 3.8 million Australians into lockdown, in addition to the Greater Sydney lock down.
While we are hoping the lockdowns will be lifted at 6 pm this Friday, this will depend on how our contact tracers have been able to track the outbreaks. Yes, outbreaks, plural. We have community transmission of both the Alpha and Delta strains and a growing list of exposure sites.
The Timing is Horrible in so Many Ways
It is winter, which the virus loves. It is peak tourism season, peak sporting season and it is school holiday time. People are on the move.
I am sure there are Gregory people who went to the State of Origin game. There will be Gregory families travelling to Townsville or the southeast corner on holidays. And we are hosting a record number of tourists visiting us here in Gregory. The virus loves people moving around.
In Key Populations
Unfortunately, the infections have been found in key sectors of the population, too. A health worker, a FIFO worker and air cabin crew. That’s hospitals, mines and tourism, right there.
Do the COVID Drill – at Home and Away
With all this in play, please be careful about hand-washing, social distancing and checking in.
If you are travelling to, or through, lock down areas, you need to be aware of mandatory mask wearing requirements. You can read more here.
The Third Lock-Down
The lock down areas in Queensland are called “Restricted Areas”. You can check the list and the restrictions that apply here.
You will also need to keep checking the exposure venues. These are times and places in the lock down areas where contact tracers have found an exposure.
This list is constantly changing as they do their work – so you have to keep checking. You can do that here.
We think we’ve Been Exposed – What Next?
If you and your family have been to one of these places at the stated time, you must immediately travel, by private transport, to your home or accommodation and isolate. You must get a COVID test as soon as possible and isolate until you get a negative result.
You must also complete a contact tracing form as soon as possible.
I’m Away – How Do I do That?
When you click on the link for the list of exposure venues, you will see that the name of each shop or site, like “Cotton On, DFO”, is actually a link as well. If you click on the name of the business where you think you may have been exposed, a pop up menu will appear with links for getting tested and a link to the contact tracing form, which you can complete on-line.
Alternatively, you can ring 134 268 (134 COVID) for help and advice.
Getting a COVID test in Gregory
If you think you have been exposed but you are already back home and untested, isolate at home. On the Central Highlands, ring the Emerald Hospital to arrange a test : (07) 4987 9400. You may be tested at the Hospital or at QML. You won’t leave your car; the tester will come to you. So, you have to ring and set up a time and get instructions on where to park and what to do.
If you are in the Central West, you can click here and then select “ COVID19 Testing Clinics”.
This third lockdown has increased people’s sense of urgency about getting a vaccination.
If you are in the Central West, you can book a vaccination appointment online for when the mobile clinic comes to your neck of the woods. Second shots are rolling out now, but don’t worry if you haven’t had your first shot yet. These are continuing to roll out too. Just click here to book a vaccination.
In the Central West, vaccination is open to everyone over the age of 18 and it is free.
In the Central Highlands, people aged 40 years or more should go online to book here. Alternatively, you can book a free vaccination appointment at the Emerald Medical Group by calling (07) 4986 7400.
Local Cancellations and Postponements
Sadly, the outbreaks have meant some local cancellations and postponements. The fabulous Women of the West festival in Longreach has had to be postponed until a date to be advised.
The Queensland State Karting Titles which were to be held in Emerald have also had to be postponed until a date to be advised. This is such a shame as members and families have been working so hard to make them the best ever.
At this stage, the Big Red Bash is still going ahead next week, with a rapid COVID testing clinic to “pop-up” in Birdsville and arrangements in place for any positive cases to be safely quarantined.
Thanks for Reading
Thanks for staying up to date despite the depressing news.
If this information would help someone you know, please feel free to forward this email to them.
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Help is Only a Phone Call Away
If you are having any problems – COVID related or other state government problems – please don’t hesitate to call us. If we can’t help, we can usually put you in touch with the right person. Nicki is in the Longreach office on (07) 4521 5700 and Laura is in the Emerald office on (07) 4913 1000.
Stay “COVID safe” - and safe on the roads, too, at this busy time.
Lachlan Millar MP
Member for Gregory
Assistant to the Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Assistant Minister for Western Queensland
Deputy Chair – Queensland Parliamentary Transport and Resources Committee