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What do businesses need to know in Covid-19 level 2

We are staring at the strong probability of New Zealand entering Level 2 as early as Thursday next week. For almost all businesses, there will be a requirement for some form of contact tracing. Businesses will also need to monitor and control the numbers of people within their premises to no more than 100. Additionally, under the Health and Safety at Work Act, firms need to keep an accurate record of all people in their premises so that they can have information in case of any emergency.

Unfortunately, the government has not been very explicit about what that contact tracing will look like. Mention of QR codes had been made many times including by the PM today. There was talk of a mobile app to be released soon.

Even before the debate about the best contact tracing app for NZ hit the front pages, Houston had argued for the inclusion of QR codes in the design for the app.

Houston was invited to help the MoH

Houston was invited to submit such a proposal to the Ministry of Health and has now been notified that its idea had been accepted by the Ministry. While the full details of the app have not been released, this is what we believe it will look like:

  • QR codes will be used to identify the businesses (supermarkets, headdresses, retailers, sports venues, public transport vehicle, open homes, weddings, et cetera)

  • People including staff, customers and other visitors will use their mobile phones to scan the QR codes on entering premises. This transfers contact details from the mobile phone owners to the businesses’ register in the cloud in a totally contactless manner

  • In the event that a person is identified as COVID-19 positive, the MOH can easily identify where that person had been and who had been in close contact with him/her.

But is it the solution?

However, we believe the MoH app is unlikely to meet all the requirements for opening such as information on the number of people in the building at any one time. Businesses therefore will be unable to easily guarantee that the number of people in the premises do not exceed regulated limits.

Previously, the requirement for keeping a register of visitors was necessary. In the new environment, this requirement is critical and needs to be expanded to include movements of staff. Additionally, businesses need to perform visitor screening by asking guests questions about their movements and symptoms in the past 14 days. Finally, it will be very prudent for businesses to ensure that visitors acknowledge businesses’ policies on COVID-19 prevention.

We believe that none of the above requirements will be included in the MoH design.

You need a reliable solution that meets the standards

To assist businesses with mitigating the difficulties of meeting these multifarious requirements, Houston Productivity has been hard at work designing an app that wraps them all together in one single application.

We are pleased to announce that the app, to be called Quickr, will be released within the next 4-6 weeks. This is timed to allow the MoH to properly publish their COVID-19 data standards and to complete the release of an API (a piece of software that allows the Quickr app to send its data into the MoH data store) before our app is released to market.

Not only will the Quickr app meet all the COVID-19 and Health and Safety at Work obligations discussed above, it will also feature the following:

  • will work as an easy-to-use, totally contactless Visitors Registration System

  • will not require any specialised hardware. The only hardware is the visitors’ smart phones

  • can automatically notify the host when the visitor arrives

  • will act as a staff in-out board

  • can print visitor ID badges if required

  • can integrate with Microsoft Power BI to produce business insights

  • will have data stored securely in Microsoft Azure or the MoH repository depending on which data it is

Most importantly, we are happy to talk to any industry groups that would like the app customised to meet the specific requirements of their industry. For example, supermarkets and restaurants may want the app to encompass queue management and provide a traffic light system. Pharmacies may like to integrate the app with their pharmacy management systems to automatically notify customers when their prescriptions are ready for collection.

A safe solution with minimum cost

In recognition of the economic hardships that most businesses are finding themselves in from the pandemic, we have decided to price the app at only $29 plus GST per month. Furthermore, if you are running a visitor registration system that does not meet regulations, we are happy for you to trade in that system for Quickr so that you do not suffer financial loss from having to cancel existing contracts early.

Don't panic and commit at this moment

We would strongly recommend that you do not commit yourself to any contact tracing software until the MoH has released its rulebook on what are the minimum requirements. While we do not know for sure, rumour has it that this will be made public in the next 4-6 weeks. Until that information is available, no publisher of such an app (including Houston) can assure you that it will meet all requirements.

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