By ZAC STANDISH
BUSINESSES across Victoria will be forced to convert to the state government’s QR Code service from this Friday, with non-compliant venues set to face a new $1652 on-the-spot fine, and further penalties of up to $9913 and prosecution for repeated breaches.
This follows a state government conducted QR compliance check of more than 4000 venues around the state in April, with a statement revealing that 37 per-cent of businesses visited were flagged as non-compliant.
Silver’s Bar and Grill owner Marty Giddens said he was not overly worried about the impending changes.
“Overall we aren’t too concerned with the new protocols, we have been very vigilant since our reopening about the QR Codes and making sure people are doing them,” Mr Giddens said.
“We just want to see people doing the right thing, and I think these new rules will help in delivering that.”
Mr Giddens said training his staff to be on top of QR Code check-ins has been a high priority for the Morwell-based business.
“It is really important that our staff are constantly looking at the people coming into our restaurant and making sure they check-in to help make contact tracing easier for everybody,” he told The Express.
“We are constantly drilling it in to them saying ‘make sure everyone checks in’ and they have been great in policing it for us.”
Since re-opening in October last year, he has been impressed with the compliance of local customers.
“For the most part everyone has been very good, whether they are checking in on their phones or writing down their details on the sheet of paper we have set up, it has been smooth sailing on our part,” he said.
“Our QR Code set-up is right at the front door so people just see it and check-in, so we have not seen that drop away of people going through the process as time has gone on which has been fantastic.”
Overall, he believes QR Codes are the most effective way to undertake contact tracing.
“Absolutely it is a great system, without it you would have no idea who is who, where they are from and how to contact them,” he said.
“If a COVID infected customer was to come into our restaurant, it gives us the best chance of stopping an outbreak, making it super important to the industry and community as a whole.”
With the past year throwing up significant challenges to the hospitality industry, Mr Giddens detailed how it impacted the restaurant and forced him to adapt.
“Obviously we would not have bums on seats which was a real strain, so we had to divert to takeaway and offer things like home delivery and Uber Eats,” he said.
“With everything back up and running now, we have able to create a bit of diversity in being able to offer both sit-down service and takeaway which has really taken our business to another level.
“So in the end you could say the period worked out quite well for us and things are now going brilliantly.”
By ZAC STANDISH