Legal update: Do you need an NHS QR code for your business’ premises?

Please Note: All information correct at time of writing on 1 October 2020. We do our very best to make sure our information is as up to date as possible, but we’d encourage you to check out our latest articles and to check the government website for updates as they happen.

As of the 24th September 2020, it is now a legal requirement for certain businesses across England to display the NHS Test and Trace QR Codes so customers with the NHS COVID-19 app can use them to check in the premises.

The purpose of the QR code

By maintaining records of staff, customers, and visitors, and displaying an official NHS QR poster, you will help NHS Test and Trace to identify and notify people who may have been exposed to the virus.

The NHS COVID-19 app has a feature that allows users to quickly and easily ‘check in’ to your venue by scanning the code. The information stays on the user’s phone. In England, you do not have to ask people who choose to ‘check in’ using the official NHS QR code to provide their contact details. If there is an outbreak associated with a venue, a message will be sent to the relevant app users with the necessary public health advice.

Sectors required to enforce the QR code on their premises

  • Hospitality services including pubs, bars, restaurants and Café’s hotels and other guest accommodation provided on a commercial basis, including in bed and breakfast accommodation, boats, campsites, caravans, chalets, guest houses, holiday parks, hostels, motels, pubs, sleeper trains and yurts
  • Tourism and leisure services including hotels, museum, cinemas, and amusement arcades
  • Close contact services including hairdressers’ tattoo studios, barbershops, and tailors (including mobile businesses
  • Facilities provided by local authorities, including community centres, libraries, and village halls.
Create your venues QR code

If your business falls into a sector where the NHS Track and Trace QR code is mandatory, you can create it here.

What happens if you fail to comply

If you fail to display the QR code on your premises and you fall into one of the sectors listed above, it could lead to your first fixed penalty which is £1,000. The second is £2,000, the third is £3,000, and any further penalty notice thereafter is £4,000. The person responsible for the organisation is liable. This could be the owner, proprietor, or manager with overall responsibility of the organisation, business, or service.

Exemptions from the QR code

If someone does not have the mental capacity to provide their contact details, hospitality venues should not refuse entry (where they are normally required to do so). Businesses will not be in breach of the requirements if they have reason to believe someone can’t provide the details for disability reasons and don’t ask for them as a result.

How to maintain records

To support NHS Test and Trace, you’re obliged to hold records for 21 days. These three weeks reflect the incubation period of COVID-19 as well as time for testing and tracing. After the 21 days are up, the information must be safely disposed of or deleted. When taking and storing personal data from the QR code and NHS Test and Trace, you must do this in a way that complies with General Data Protection Regulations.

Citation can help at every step of the way

These are challenging times, especially for business owners and employers. Our team of Health & Safety and Employment Law experts are on hand provide you with their guidance and advice based on latest government updates to help you work through this difficult period.

Keep an eye on our latest articlesfree guides and social media for more. And if you’re already a Citation client, you can call our advice line 24/7 on 0345 844 4848.

If you’re not yet a client of ours and you want the advice and backing of a team of Health & Safety experts feel free to give our team a call on 0345 844 1111 to talk through your business needs. Or, simply fill out your details in the form opposite and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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