Businesses urged to prepare for NHS COVID-19 App

Businesses across England and Wales like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS Covid-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in

The move comes ahead of a national launch of the NHS Covid-19 app across England and Wales on Thursday 24 September.

The government will be supporting businesses and venues to display the QR codes, which can be downloaded via a website to display as posters in premises.

Following the launch of the new Covid-19 app, customers and visitors in England will be able to check-in on entry with their phone instead of filling out a check-in book or tool specific to a business. This will allow NHS Test and Trace to contact customers with public health advice should there be a COVID-19 outbreak.

In England, using QR codes will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises.

With coronavirus cases rising in the UK in the last few weeks it is essential businesses capitalise on the benefits QR codes can bring to protect themselves and their customers.

NHS Test and Trace QR codes – Advice for the Tourism and Leisure Industry in England

  • The NHS COVID-19 app has a check-in feature which enables a venue to register for an official NHS QR code and allows users to ‘check-in’ to participating venues on their app by scanning that code. The information stays on the user’s phone.
  • These QR code posters are a quick, simple and secure way for visitors to ‘check-in’ to your venue(s) using the app. If they ‘check-in’ using the app then businesses in England do not need to collect those customers’ records.
  • By ‘checking-in’, app users will have a digital diary on their phones of the venues they have been to which can support discussions with contact tracers if they become ill with coronavirus. It also means that important public health messages can be sent to relevant app users’ phones if needed. Businesses and venues will not be named in any messages.
  • Businesses and venues in England that are expected to maintain customer logs should now ensure that official NHS QR posters are available for customers to use. In-line with existing government guidance, tourist and leisure venues that should collect visitor records and therefore need to have QR codes include hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos, theme parks, indoor gyms and indoor sports centres.
  • Businesses and venues in England that are not currently expected to maintain customer logs are encouraged to display official NHS QR code posters if they have indoor areas where visitors are likely to congregate or sit-down in close contact for 15 minutes or more.
  • By using the NHS QR code system, businesses will be helping to protect themselves and their customers from the impact of the virus. This system will help to slow the spread of the virus, reducing the impact of a potential second wave, and helping us return to a more normal life.
  • The posters can be created on-line for free by going to At least one poster should be available on the entrance of the venue in a place that is easy to see and convenient for visitors including those in wheelchairs and those with other disabilities. Multiple copies can be produced for different entrances and different size options are available.
  • Please avoid locations where there will be high ‘glare’ and ensure the poster is on a flat surface so that QR codes can scan properly.
  • For very large venues and tourist attractions it is advised that businesses consider creating different QR code posters for different locations on the premises, rather than a single QR code for the whole venue. For example, if there are different restaurant areas within a large venue they should each have their own QR code. This will mean that any public health messages needed can be targeted at fewer people. These messages will not name your business or venue.
  • If your venue is in England, and you are currently using your own QR code system to support contact tracing, you should now switch to the official NHS QR code system. It is highly secure and reduces the need for data management for the businesses. You will only need to maintain an alternative means to log in for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the app.
Venue/ LocationVenue/ Location
On-site cafes, bars or restaurants  These venues are expected to provide customer logs so you should also provide a QR poster
Entrance to accommodation (hotel, motor home park, or holiday parks)These venues are expected to provide customer logs so you should also provide a QR poster
Indoor recreational spaces where visitors are likely to congregate or sit-down for 15 minutes or moreQR posters are encouraged for these locations
Head offices and workspaces attended only by staffQR posters not expected for these locations – it is assumed that businesses have alternative mechanisms to contact staff if needed.
Corridors, hallways or large open spaces in venues that visitors move throughQR posters not needed for spaces that people move through and do not congregate
Outdoor space, squares, gardens, including smoking areas or other green spacesQR posters not needed

Venues can read more FAQs on the COVID-19 app website

Read Introducing the NHS Covide-19 App here or click on the image below