NSW has recorded its fourth straight day of zero cases of local COVID-19 cases as thousands of businesses across the state are put on notice they have less than two weeks to electronically register their customers’ details.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello says pen and paper no longer cut it and QR codes will be mandatory from November 23, warning any business without the digital system will be fined.
“We can’t respond to a pandemic with paper. We must be fast and precise, and digital is the best way forward. There are no excuses,” he said on Wednesday.
The list of businesses requiring the system is vast, ranging from restaurants, to nail and beauty salons, tattoo parlours, pubs, clubs, funeral homes, party buses, brothels, corporate events, weddings and receptions.
“We have to move away from the walk-in culture to the check-in culture,” he said.
Meanwhile, a public health alert was issued late Wednesday calling for 18,500 residents in Sydney’s northwest to get tested, after virus fragments were found at two local sewage pumping stations.
The suburbs impacted include North Kellyville, Rouse Hill, Box Hill, The Ponds, Kellyville Ridge, Parklea, Quakers Hill and Acacia Gardens.
Earlier, NSW Health reported four COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in returned travellers in hotel quarantine, in the 20,586 tests undertaken in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night – twice the number of tests done the previous day.
NSW Health continued to urge anyone with symptoms – especially people in the Southern Highlands and southwestern Sydney – to get tested.
And as NSW prepared to take on Queensland in the second State of Origin rugby league match, Premier Gladys Berejiklian was in no mood for the traditional interstate friendly rivalry about the event.
She says she won’t be texting Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about it and remains frustrated by her refusal to open the border to Sydneysiders, arguing that both states’ economies were suffering.
“I think I’ve made my case clear. And she’s made her position clear. And I don’t think that she’s going to budge,” she told ABC TV.
“It’s a lot at stake. I think that the goalposts that Queensland has set for opening the borders to NSW is unrealistic, and I just wish that they would act in a more compassionate and common-sense way.”
There was “absolutely no health advice which says that NSW poses a danger to anybody”.
“Quite the contrary. We have tested our system. Queensland hasn’t. WA hasn’t,” she said.
She noted that from November 23, every Australian citizen will be welcome in NSW without quarantine, and the state is also welcoming New Zealanders.
“We’re really encouraged by the progress we’re making. But let’s not be in a situation where people lose jobs, are frustrated and separated from their families over Christmas unnecessarily. It’s just ridiculous,” she said.
Australian Associated Press