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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Council buildings and facilities are reopening, and Aucklanders are thrilled to be back at their local libraries, youth centres, swimming pools and other community venues. But as André Lubbe, the council’s Head of Employment Relations, explains, customers have one extra step to take before entering.

“All organisations operating at Alert Level 2, including the council, are required by the Ministry of Health to contact trace as part of the COVID-19 response, and we must register all visitors to our facilities. This means that when you visit a council facility it might take a little bit longer than usual to enter the building,” says Mr Lubbe.

“If you have a smartphone, you can simply scan the QR code or enter the URL displayed on posters at building entrances, fill in the required contact details and in you go! If you do not have a smartphone, our staff will assist you and collect your contact information directly.”

Some people have been wondering why they can’t just use the government’s NZ COVID Tracer app when they enter council buildings. Mr Lubbe says that the council is obliged to keep its own records of who has entered council facilities.

“The government’s tracer app is designed to support, rather than replace, existing contact tracing processes like the council’s Virtual Check-in app,” explains Mr Lubbe.

“The government app and the information collected via the government app, sits on a customer’s personal phone. The council does not have access to the data held securely within the government’s app on our customer’s phones. So, if the council were required to carry out any contact tracing, it would not be able to use the information from the NZ COVID Tracer app. And for technical reasons, it is not possible to integrate the two systems.”

Customers need to provide their residential address and at least one other form of contact information like a phone number or an email address. This information would only be accessed in the instance of a confirmed case of COVID-19. In this case, data would be shared with the Ministry of Health. 

As required by the government, the council will hold contact tracing data for 60 days and then the information will be destroyed.