by Helen Holt

South Canterbury businesses are urging people to be vigilant following the Covid-19 community transmission case in Northland last weekend.

JewelCraft owner Glen Patterson said his business in Stafford St, Timaru, had seen a remarkable increase in people contact tracing since Sunday.

“We’ve seen 90% of people scanning in the last few days. Before Sunday, you’d be lucky to see 30%.

“It’s funny how everyone gets back into using the app as soon as there is one case in the community. But then people stop as soon as there appears to be no risk.

“If we had our way, we would make scanning mandatory, but there’s currently no government legislation.”

The Courier surveyed a local supermarket entry for 10 minutes on Monday. Only half those entering took the time to scan the QR code, and it was noticeable that people were more likely to scan if they saw another person scan in front of them.

Hospitality New Zealand South Canterbury branch president Kristy Phillips said the hospitality industry had had a good experience of guests contact tracing and using the app.

“On the whole we’ve had a high percentage, especially over the summer with travelling Kiwis. It makes it a lot easier to scan when businesses have them in more than one place, and spread throughout the venue,” Ms Phillips said.

“We rely on a personal responsibility from our workers and guests to keep safe.

“This includes contact tracing, staying home when sick and covering mouth when coughing. No-one wants another lockdown.”

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith said the consequences for local businesses from another lockdown would be massive.

“We’ve come out the best we can, but businesses have a serious risk of going under if we had to go into lockdown again.”

The Ministry of Health and local businesses have praised the Northland case for scanning regularly after leaving isolation, and a ministry spokesman said it hoped this would set an example of vigilance for the rest of New Zealand.

“The person has been vigilant in using the Covid Tracer app since leaving the managed isolation facility, and we have been able to rapidly identify these locations and are in the process of notifying them.”bridge mediaMens Flynit Trainers