A heavyweight Victorian industry round-table has cast some light on the tough - and sometimes delicate - job state government officials have to try to help big and small businesses stay on top of their QR code check-in requirements.
A phone hookup organised by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions on Thursday last week was brought to a temporary standstill when some smaller businesses on the line aired concerns about the requirement for all customers to sign in using a mobile phone.
One business owner who owns a rather successful Melbourne brothel told department officials of his problems navigating the QR code check-in requirements considering his business’ clients “didn’t usually carry mobile phones”. Another business owner who runs a well-frequented men’s sauna piped up in support, telling the phone hookup that many of his clients didn’t actually own a mobile phone - interpreted by the others on the call as a code for a clientele who like to do things discreetly. Lucky it wasn’t on Zoom given several executives on the line representing larger corporates including BHP, NAB and several consulting firms remained silent, presumably unsure where to look after learning about some of the more intimate operating details of smaller businesses.
But if the convenor of the call - the department’s executive director of its industry recovery program Joseph Lawrence - was fazed by the curly questions, he didn’t let on. He responded that he would confer with his officials and returned to the call seconds afterwards to let the business owners know that, in some circumstances, paper sign-in would suffice - so long as the customers were prepared to fill in their details accurately.
Odds are Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck will be making appearances at both establishments this week.
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Samantha is a CBD columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.
Stephen Brook is a CBD columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. He is a former features editor and media editor at The Australian, where he wrote the Media Diary column and spent six years in London working for The Guardian.