Woolworths and Aldi customers vent over QR code change

As NSW changed the rules with QR Codes earlier this week, some people were disappointed they didn't have the option to check in at the supermarket.

On December 15, NSW Health changed the rules regarding Covid check-ins, and now, only certain venues in the state have to display QR Codes.

Under the new guidelines, supermarkets no longer have to require customers to check in, however when stores started removing the codes from the entrance, some customers weren't too happy.

"Dear Woolworths, would it really hurt to leave just 1 QR code available at the front of my local store? No," one person wrote on the Woolworths Facebook page.

They explained they had gone to a Woolworths in Sydney's south to find there weren't any QR Codes to use to sign in.

Shoppers are seen leaving a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney, Thursday, April 29, 2021.
People no longer have to check in using QR Codes at supermarkets in NSW. Source: AAP

"I know it is no longer compulsory to ‘check in’ but as case numbers soar I have chosen to continue this habit, so I can see exposure notifications," they explained.

Woolworths responded to the customer on Facebook and thanked the customer for bringing it to their attention, adding the store management team had been made aware and would look into it further.

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Woolworths spokesperson said some of the in-store requirements have changed to be in line with the state government's public health orders.

Woolworths has adjusted Covid-safe measures throughout the pandemic and the spokesperson said the supermarket giant would continue to monitor and adjust settings as necessary.

"We thank our customers and team members for their continued support and persistence in following our COVIDSafe measures," the spokesperson said.

"We encourage everyone to remain mindful of these as we enter the busy Christmas period and maintain a focus on customer and team member safety."

General photo of Woolworth in Melbourne, Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
Some supermarkets still have QR Code so customers can check in if they want. Source: AAP

It wasn't just Woolworths shoppers who were upset the QR Codes were gone, a few people on Aldi's Facebook page called for the company to reinstate them.

"Can you PLEASE REINSTATE QR Code check-in at your stores!!! Just because our state government are foolish, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. SET AN EXAMPLE PLEASE!!!" one person said on Aldi's Facebook page.

Yahoo News Australia also understands Coles has removed the QR Code pillars from the front of stores in NSW.

However, Coles still offers some QR check-in points for customers to use if they wish to check in.

Almost 25,000 people have signed a petition requesting the NSW government reintroduces QR code check-ins and capacity limits at public venues.

Do I need to check-in to a supermarket?

NSW Health made changes to the check-in requirements on December 15 and you still need to check in to certain places and venues.

However, people no longer need to check in to supermarkets in NSW.

As per NSW Health, the premises people still need to check in to are:

  • nail salons, beauty salons, hairdressing salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours

  • pubs, small bars and registered clubs

  • hospitals (excluding where the hospital has an electronic entry recording system)

  • nightclubs

  • places of public worship

  • Residential care facilities or hostels, but not residents

  • sex on premises venues, being restricted premises where sex between patrons is permitted on the premises

  • sex services premises

  • strip clubs.

Check-ins are also still required at funerals and memorial services, in additions to gatherings after such services.

People in NSW still need to check in to places if it is a premise which still requires it.

QR check in signage at an entertainment venue at Barangaroo in Sydney, Sunday, October 10, 2021.
Only certain venues and premises in NSW need QR Codes. Source: AAP

Due to the high vaccination rate in NSW, contact tracing has changed in the state and public venues are no longer listed on the NSW Health website, when a confirmed case visits a venue.

Instead, NSW Health is focusing contact tracing efforts within a few specific settings.

NSW Health contact tracing is now focusing on:

  • household members of cases

  • contacts among family and friends of cases

  • places where there are people at high risk of severe disease such as in healthcare, aged care, disability care and correctional facilities

  • places transmission has been identified

  • places that provide essential services such as schools and food distribution facilities.

While masks are no longer required while shopping or at a pub, NSW Health still recommends wearing one in indoor areas where social distancing might not be possible.

So if you're at a supermarket and social distancing is not possible, it is strongly recommended you wear a face mask.

There are still some settings where people have to wear a mask like at a public transport waiting area, on public transport, at an airport or on an aircraft in NSW.

Yahoo News Australia has reached out to Aldi for comment.

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