A cafe worker has lifted the lid on customers lying about entering their details to check in to venues – a requirement by the Government.
A cafe worker has lifted the lid on customers lying about entering their details to check in to venues – a requirement by the Government.

‘Abusive’ customers slammed over COVID check-in lies

"Karen"-type customers are lying about entering their details when signing in to restaurants, raising serious concerns on whether contact tracing would be jeopardised if an outbreak occurred.

Fortitude Valley barista, Kaela Jade, said many customers - who she referred to as 'Karens' - have been "incompliant" with COVID safe measures, and some are even abusing staff when asked to prove they have checked in to GuestHQ.

"Constantly we have customers saying they were checking in when asked, then not realising we check to make sure," Ms Jade said.

"Then when they open their phone it's an empty form."

Jade said some customers have become abusive when staff ask them to prove they have entered their details.

Customers are required to provide contact details when dining in at restaurants to keep record in case contact tracing is needed.
Customers are required to provide contact details when dining in at restaurants to keep record in case contact tracing is needed.

Measures under the COVID Safe plan require restaurants, cafes and bars to collect the name of each diner and their phone number, email or residential address and time of patronage, storing it for 56 days. This enables health authorities to undertake accurate contact tracing should a COVID-19 outbreak occur.

"We often have incidents where while asking people to check in they start saying how COVID is a bunch of bulls**** and they're not gonna fill out a check in," she said.

"Or customers who do manual check in (on pen and paper) refuse to give us an email or physical address until we tell them they can't dine in otherwise, and sometimes say something like: 'I'm just going to give you a fake number or email'.

"We even have a sign at the till saying don't abuse staff because it's so common."

Ms Jade said she had one particular customer who has now been banned from the café due to abusive behaviour.

"He was shouting conspiracy theories and being racist to our staff," she said.

"People think it's the business targeting them and taking their details, but we just want them to know its Government regulations."

Customers are required to sign in with their details for contact tracing. 19 August 2020 Photograph by Greg Bowker/New Zealand Herald
Customers are required to sign in with their details for contact tracing. 19 August 2020 Photograph by Greg Bowker/New Zealand Herald

The café has been forced to place a sign at the counter which reads: "Please treat our team with respect & kindness".

"We are working within strict government guidelines to provide you with a safe dining experience. Rude or verbally aggressive behaviour is unacceptable and un-Australian."

The Brisbane cafe has put up a sign asking customers to be kind. Source: Supplied
The Brisbane cafe has put up a sign asking customers to be kind. Source: Supplied

In a statement from Queensland Health released last month, Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said information would be vital if a patron or staff member tested positive to COVID-19.

"If someone with the disease has been to a venue, we urgently need to know who else might be at risk of infection," she said.

"Having the names, phone numbers and email addresses of all customers and employees is critical in the event we have to carry out contact tracing and help minimise the spread of the disease.

"Time is of the essence in this task, so businesses must have this information on-hand so we can quickly track down people who may have been exposed and may need to be tested."

Dr Young said while the vast majority of Queenslanders were compliant, there had been reports of customers providing either false or incomplete details.

People who fail to produce contact tracing information without a reasonable excuse can be fined $1,334.

"People who provide fake names or numbers for whatever reason are not just putting themselves at risk, they're putting their own family and friends at risk," Dr Young said.

Originally published as 'Abusive' customers slammed over COVID check-in lies


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