Last week, we noticed an increase in enquiries surrounding the South Australian COVID SAfe Check In after a blitz by police on non-compliant businesses.
Here are all the frequently asked questions by business owners about the South Australia QR code system on how to stay compliant and avoid a hefty fine.
Is it legal to make customers check in?
Yes, this is a legal direction. This direction may be cited as the Emergency Management (Public Activities No 24) (COVID-19) Direction 2021. It came into effect at 1:12 pm on 7 May 2021 and revokes the Emergency Management (Public Activities No 23) (COVID-19) Direction 2021.
Why are Police cracking down and handing out fines?
The tough measures are in place to ensure SA Health can quickly trace any close contacts of an infected person. COVID SAfe Check-In has significantly contributed to the easing of restrictions so that we can all keep doing the things we love, but it requires everyone to use the app.
Which businesses are required to maintain a contact register?
Under the Public Activities Direction, any place at which a defined public activity is conducted, general retail industry premises and gatherings of 51 to 200 people at a residential premises, must use COVID SAfe Check-In.
- businesses where there is onsite purchase and consumption of food or beverages (whether occurring in an indoor or outdoor area)
- sport (including sports training), fitness or recreation activities
- indoor public meetings
- public assemblies
- personal care services
- public entertainment venues
- recreational transport
- relevant licensed premises
- casinos or gaming areas
- auctions and inspections of premises for the purpose of sale or rental of any property
- driver instruction
- health care, residential care, disability support or aged care services
- the onsite purchase and consumption of shisha
- premises in which the retail sale or hire of goods or services for personal, household or business
consumption occurs and where the sale or hire involves customers who are physically present. This
includes premises where the preparation and retail of food or drink for immediate consumption on or
off the premises occurs.
Activities and businesses that are not legally required to complete a COVID-Safe Plan (e.g. wholesale business) but would like to have one as an extra precaution can create a voluntary COVID-Safe Plan if they wish to and will be sent a QR code.
Do customers need to check in at retail stores?
Yes, all retail stores are required to have a COVID SAfe Check-In QR code and customers will need to check in when they enter. Every person attending the venue required to check in. Parents or guardians/caregivers can either use the COVID SAfe Check-In or the paper record to check in for their children.
Each business/site will need to complete the online COVID-Safe Plan to create a QR code, which is emailed for printing and display. Businesses that have already completed a voluntary COVID-Safe Plan do not need to complete another plan as they will already have received a SA Government QR code.
Templates for specific COVID-Safe Plans for general retail, supermarkets and hardware stores are available at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/business-and-events/create-a-covid-safe-plan.
Do staff members need to check in with the COVID SAfe Check-In App?
Yes, all staff members of a place at which a defined public activity is conducted or general retail industry premises need to check in when arriving at work. Provision of a timesheet is not compliant should an outbreak occur. The South Australian government has advised the use of the app is required so that there is no delay in contact tracing efforts and reconciling data outside of the app.
What is a customer refuses to check in?
There is a dual responsibility, both on the business and the customer, to use the COVID SAfe Check-In. If a customer chooses not to provide their details, the business has the right to refuse entry or service.
Please be mindful of avoiding confrontations that become dangerous to staff members or customers. If a situation does escalate, contact on-site security (if available) or SA Police by phoning 131 444 for non-urgent police assistance or in an emergency always call 000.
For businesses and activities that are required to have COVID Marshals, COVID Marshals should take all reasonable steps to ensure customers comply with COVID SAfe Check-In.
What if the customer can’t use the app?
If customers do not have a smart phone they are still required to provide their relevant contact details on a paper record, taking care to make sure their handwriting can be read. Paper check-in templates are available to download and print as a back-up for people who don’t have a smart phone. The templates are available at
Penalties for non-compliance?
As we’ve seen in the news, a business that does not enforce the check in is fined up to $5,060. Customers who do not check in will incur a $1,060 fine.
Do you have any questions that weren’t addressed in this article? Let us know. Send your question to email@example.com and we’ll help you stay COVID Safe.