When the COVID regulations changed last week to mandate names and contact details of all visitors to bars, cafes or restaurants be provided in digital format within 24 hours, many a cafe owner would have inwardly groaned.
With the job of typing up names and phone numbers added to the many other tasks that owners must perform to ensure they meet COVID safety regulations, attention turned to how to get the task done better.
Nicky Austin one of three owners at Toast, Pambula said she had been talking with other cafe and restaurant owners over the last two weeks and using a contact-free method was seen as the solution.
"My thought was to have a consolidated approach - similar everywhere you go - so that it becomes familiar," Ms Austin said.
Toast, like several local eateries, has opted to use a QR (quick response) code which can be scanned with a mobile phone.
Most iPhones can scan the QR code automatically when you open the camera, but some phone users may need to download a QR reader. When the QR code is scanned a link pops up on the phone, which you tap and it opens up to ask for a name and phone number or email address. A single user can sign in up to five people, useful for couples or a small group.
"The information is wiped after 28 days, it's not an app, and none of it goes to the business or the government except if contact tracing is needed," Ms Austin said.
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She said that Toast, Sprout, Eden and Mor Mors in Merimbula were all using the same system, Covid Comply, but most QR systems looked the same to the end user.
The QR system has the benefit of being contactless for both staff and customers and means that customers are not having to leave their names and contact details publicly on view in a book or sheet of paper.
At Toast they also have staff available to help anyone experiencing difficulties.
"It's more staff intensive to coach people through the process but I believe this will be the new normal and it's such a better solution."