“Untenable”: restaurateurs lost in the face of TousAntiCovid QR codes and reminder notebooks

In theory, customers inside bars and restaurants must either flash a QR code or fill out a reminder book. In practice, it is much more complicated.

The Covid notebooks were in the October deconfinement, right? “Numerama asked a dozen Parisian restaurateurs what they thought of the device deployed by the government on June 9 to regulate the presence of customers in establishments, indoors. Result: none really respects the rules demanded by the government.

In theory, each restaurant, bar and sports hall has the obligation, to welcome the public in a closed place:

  • Generate and display QR codes that indoor customers can scan with TousAntiCovid.
  • To provide a paper reminder book as an alternative to QR codes. Indoor customers must indicate their first name, last name, time of entry and phone number.

In practice, no establishment we visited offered both options.

Moreover, some did not offer any. All agreed that they had not received any specific instructions for the reopening. ” We had to look for the information ourselves to be in order in case of control », Notes a manager, a little lost. Its teams brought out a reminder book similar to the one they used in October 2020, when the device was launched. ” We do not yet have the QR codes, but we have a poster to encourage downloading TousAntiCovid He adds. On the front door of the bistro, a printed promotional sheet for the app is displayed alongside the patio authorization documents and the poster indicating that it is mandatory to wear a mask indoors.

If the government may not have contacted all the managers individually, it would be unfair to say that it has not communicated on its device: several press conferences were given and an official website, very clear, details the procedure to generate and display the QR Codes indoors.

A reminder book // Source: Numerama

“We are not going to follow every customer”

The QR code system also erases the shortcomings of the reminder books. It doesn’t collect personal information, is easy to use for any smartphone owner, and most importantly, it doesn’t put the burden of contact tracing on facility managers.

This system has only one limit: to be effective, it must be adopted by as many people as possible. Let’s imagine that a restaurant receives 4 customers on Friday between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., and that customer A declares himself positive for covid in TousAntiCovid the next day. Client C, who has not scanned the code, will not be notified that it is a contact case, unlike clients B and D who have scanned it. Problem: If client C is infected, he will infect other people himself, because he will not take the necessary precautions. Worse, if all customers have scanned the QR code except customer A, none of the other three will be notified that it is in contact. In other words, the device will be useless.

“People do what they want, I’m not going to force them”

It is therefore necessary not only that the QR codes are displayed (which is often not the case), but also that they be scanned. Leaning on the counter, a manager grumbles: ” Me, I am in order, I will not do more. People do whatever they want, I won’t force them “. Most of them ignore the QR Code, yet it is prominently displayed in 6 places. The restorer explains to us that he has learned of the return of the device ” on the Internet “, And unfortunately, he only received partial information:” I thought QR codes had replaced notebooks. This is good, because the customers did not want to fill them in the notebook. We even had it stolen, at one point. “

A QR code visual displayed in a place // Source: tousanticovid

The inability to “police” customers

On a terrace a little further, a waitress busy cleaning the tables gets annoyed: ” They flash, they do not flash, we are not going to follow every customer. We have the QR Codes, we did our part of the job “. She shows us the printed sheets, prominently displayed at the entrance to the bar. ” We already had a similar problem in October with the recall books. It was necessary to make them enter the email addresses, the name, the telephone number… It was untenable, impracticable She recalls. His bar has also dropped the paper format.

A few minutes later, the bartender of the establishment tells us similar words ” We took out the notebook the first two days, but it was untenable. We still have them there, look He said pointing to a stack just behind the cash register. As for the TousAntiCovid QR Code, the bartender tells us he has never heard of it.

Whose fault is it ? The government could communicate better; managers could get better information; customers could participate more actively in the scheme; the media could better talk about it. To work, the new contact tracing device needs ideal conditions, or nearly ideal… and it does not have them. Result: on a large scale, the QR Code system of TousAntiCovid seems doomed to failure. But a restaurateur just needs to understand how it works and manage to mobilize its customers for it to become efficient, at least on a small scale.

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