The new fine bolsters the use of the free Victorian government QR Code Service through the Service Victoria app from 28 May 2021, to help businesses follow the rules.
It also comes after the government’s three-week state COVIDSafe blitz in April, where compliance officers swooped on more than 4,000 hospitality and retail businesses across Victoria to check if they were meeting requirements.
In the battle to curb the COVID-19 virus, all venues must keep an electronic record of all visitors, which is vital for quickly tracking down patrons should a new coronavirus case be identified.
The blitz resulted in more than 165 enforcement notices being issued as well as 300 verbal warnings. The main issues included failure to use QR codes, not having a COVIDSafe Plan in place, and no density quotient signage, such as a current square metre distance rule.
The Victorian acting Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Danny Pearson, stressed the importance of compliance for these measures.
“As we’ve seen in recent weeks, it’s essential every Victorian checks in when visiting a business, to help contact tracers quickly find those who could be at risk of coronavirus exposure,” Mr Pearson said.
“While most businesses are doing the right thing, those who aren’t are letting down every Victorian who has sacrificed to get us where we are today.”
Mr Pearson said the recent enforcement checks showed a concerning trend of complacency, with 36 per cent of businesses appearing to be flouting the QR code check-in rules.
“This new on-the-spot $1,652 fine sends a clear message that we will not tolerate any business ignoring its responsibility to help Victoria stay safe and stay open,” the acting minister said.
Businesses are put on notice that further onsite checks will be carried out by authorised officers throughout May and June.
Those not doing the right thing will not only be issued with the $1,652 fine, but could also incur an Improvement Notice (which includes a follow-up visit) and a further $9,913 fine for repeated breaches.
Worst-case continued non-compliance scenarios could even be prosecuted in court.