SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

CAFÉ owners, publicans and others in hospitality locally turned up to their workplaces yesterday unsure of their new responsibilities with regard to checking customers’ IDs.
It’s not so much that they face a $9913 fine if they “consciously fail to check their customers are not from metropolitan Melbourne” but what if something goes wrong while they are bedding this new rule down?
What if they have a Kilmore café incident?
There’s also the issue that the state government doesn’t appear to be ready for this significant change for business; there was no factsheet about which businesses are affected and exactly what they have to do to comply.
Is that good enough?
Yes, we get it, it’s a “widely infectious global pandemic” and “we’re all in this together” and a considerable amount of goodwill and cooperation is needed.
And at the end of the day, the state government is introducing this new rule ahead of further easing, which will ultimately mean reopening the barriers to Melbourne, but we’ve got to be doing better than this.
Basic information must be part of the plan and should have been rolled out on Sunday night when the new rules came in.
And the trouble is, it seems indicative of Victoria’s preparedness on this.
Other states have long used the QR code system of recording IDs when people come in to sit down for drinks or a meal.
And at busy times, it’s a good way to get all the information business owners need, plus no one can say they “consciously failed” to ask for ID… the onus being more on the customer.
“…businesses who do the right thing but are misled by someone intent on breaking the rules will not be fined…”
The government is trying to give business a tool to ensure compliance from Melbourne visitors, which is fine, but it doesn’t fill you with a lot of confidence when there’s no system behind the changes.