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Friday, May 14, 2021

Check In CBR app compulsory as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Restrictions on social gatherings and workplaces will be relaxed from tomorrow morning, Saturday 20 February, as the ACT Government makes its Check In CBR app compulsory for Canberrans.

“This is a shared responsibility,” Tara Cheyne, Minister for Business, said. “We want to see the use of the Check In CBR app become a habit for everyone who visits a business or venue or facility, or is in a restrictive activity or undertaking.”

Ms Cheyne said the free app is a crucial line of defence against further COVID-19 outbreaks: the most effective and easiest tool both for businesses to capture details, and for ACT Health contact tracing teams to find information and to contact anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

All restricted businesses, venues and facilities – including cafés, restaurants, clubs, beauty salons, hairdressers, swimming pools, fitness centres, cultural institutions, gaming and gambling venues, adult services, and entertainment venues – must register to use the Check In CBR app by Saturday 6 March.

Businesses that do not register for the app by then will no longer be compliant with the Public Health Direction, Ms Cheyne warned; they could be fined $1,000 for a business owned by an individual, or $5,000 for a business owned by a corporation.  The government is educating businesses to make sure they are ready by 6 March, she said.

Also from 6 March, patrons must use the Check In CBR app to check in to these venues. Venues can now use the app to check in patrons who do not have a smartphone, removing the need for any pen and paper records.

“People who do not have a smart phone do not need to go out and buy one to visit a venue,” Ms Cheyne said. “The venue will help check you in.”

Already, 6,500 venues use the app, 335,000 people have downloaded it, and there are around 45,000 check-ins each day across the ACT.

“Government is confident this approach will enable us to remain in a strong position while also helping ACT businesses and the community to move forward and open back up,” Ms Cheyne said.

As a result of making the Check In CBR app mandatory for restricted businesses, venues and facilities, from 9am on Saturday:

  • Events and gatherings can host up to 10,000 people, in accordance with the COVID Safe Event Protocol, up from 8,000 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings with up to 1,000 people (or one person per two square metres) can take place without an exemption, up from 500 people. Events of between 501 and 1,000 people still need to notify ACT Health of the event and submit a COVID Safety Plan for review.
  • Cinemas and movie theatres can be 75% full, provided they have a COVID Safety Plan endorsed by ACT Health. Otherwise, cinemas and theatres must remain at 65% capacity.
  • Large indoor performance venues with forward-facing and tiered seating can be 75% full, provided the events are ticketed and seated, and a COVID Safety Plan is in place for each event.
  • The National Convention Centre’s indoor and outdoor spaces can be 75% full provided they have a COVID Safety Plan endorsed by ACT Health. Multi-day events are permitted.
  • GIO Stadium, Manuka Oval and other outdoor enclosed venues with permanent tiered seating and grandstands can be 100% full for fixed seating events, provided events are ticketed and an appropriate COVID Safety Plan is in place. Density for any unfixed seating areas should be calculated using the one person per two square metres of usable space rule.
  • Patrons in a venue can now stand while eating and drinking in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • All businesses can have 25 people across their venue.

If businesses or venues wish to have more people, they can apply the rule of one person per two square metres of usable space in each indoor and outdoor space. 

The cap of 500 people within each indoor and outdoor space in a business has been removed.

Businesses must still have a COVID Safety Plan, and review these plans in response to the new check-in requirements.

The ACT Government expects this level of restrictions to remain in place for the next few months as the community reaches a COVID-normal way of operating.

“Our hope is that these are long-term sustainable COVID-normal set of arrangements for the ACT,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said. “We will only change them and make them stricter if the risk profiles increase for the Territory.”

Ms Cheyne encouraged Canberrans not to become complacent. “Any time we ease restrictions, there is an increased responsibility for all of us – the businesses, the venues, and the broader community.”

The public had complied with restrictions because they knew businesses relied on their doing the right thing.

“I really urge the community to be personally responsible and to make a habit of using the app each time they visited a restricted business, venue, or activity,” Ms Cheyne reiterated. “By doing this, you’re not only ensuring a strong contact tracing, but you are helping businesses, too.”

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