The Government's just-released NZ Covid Tracer app lets punters register with their name, email and cell number, then register at venues by swiping a QR code with their phone - the better to retrace their steps, and share that information with the Ministry of Health, if they get infected.

Entering other details - including age, gender, ethnicity and current address - are optional. The Government, rather than the operators of the venues you check-in to, holds your profile, and the record of places you've been.
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There's none of the Bluetooth tracking of other people you've interacted with, a la Singapore and Australia's apps, but indications are that feature could be added from next month.

Many businesses will be thinking at this point: "How do I create a QR code?"

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It hasn't been publicised yet, but MBIE has launched a website called Business Connect, which lets you do just that.

After you've registered, you can print off a poster with a unique QR code to hang outside the door of your office or bar, which NZ Covid Tracer users can use to check-in.

This could be all a lot of small businesses need to get up and running with a digital check-in system for those who don't want to use paper and pen, eliminating the need for third-party apps (we'll hear more from app makers after the government's official app launch).

Auckland man Jason Danner - a small business cloud computing consultant - gave Business Connect a whirl last night after hearing rumours of its launch, which an MBIE spokesman confirmed this morning.

The good news: Danner successfully created a QR code.

The bad: It took 12 steps. That's a lot of screens to wade through (see his complete walk-through here).

Another complication: you have to log on using a Government RealMe ID. Many of use will have already set one up when renewing a passport or the like. But if you haven't created a RealMe account, you have to visit to a Post Shop for a real-life identity check.

The QR poster that Danner created for his business for the Government's NZ COVID Tracer app, using MBIE's Business Connect. (The centre of the QR code is whited out in this image to stop misuse.)
The QR poster that Danner created for his business for the Government's NZ COVID Tracer app, using MBIE's Business Connect. (The centre of the QR code is whited out in this image to stop misuse.)

You also need to verify your business by entering its NZBN (NZ Business Number).

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Danner's take: if you're tech-savvy and already have a RealMe account, the process is "totally doable"; you should be up and running in about 10 to 15 minutes. If not, pack a lunch.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will have a briefing on the app and, presumably, Business Connect, today.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website