Woolworths is trialling its own contact tracing tool in Victoria and New South Wales

Woolworths Metro (Photo by Hugh Peterswald/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Woolworths is trialling a contact tracing system across some of its stores.
  • It will involve customers voluntarily using a QR code to check in and register their contact details.
  • The initiative is spread across 11 Woolworths supermarkets in Victoria and one in metro New South Wales.
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Woolworths is rolling out its own, currently voluntary, contact tracing tool for customers.

The supermarket is trialling a voluntary contact tracing tool for customers as a way to help health authorities with their efforts in tracking the spread.

Named the QR Code Contact Tracing initiative, it involves customers using a QR code at the entrance of select stores to check in and register their contact details. This is being trialled across 11 Woolies supermarkets in Victoria and one Woolworths Metro in New South Wales.

Woolworths said all the details will be “encrypted” and “securely stored”. Plus, they will be used to let customers know if there was a confirmed case in the store or inform relevant health authorities and their “nominated agencies” for contact tracing purposes.

“Contact tracing is an essential step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and we want to do our bit to support the broader public health effort,” Woolworths Supermarkets General Manager for Victoria Andrew Hall said in a statement.

“While checking in and sharing contact details will be voluntary for our customers, we encourage shoppers to make use of it in our trial stores.”

The contact tracing tool comes after Woolworths released its Q-Tracker initiative, a web tool that uses real-time data to show customers whether there’s a queuing system at the entry of Woolworths stores and if there are any wait times. It is designed to help customers avoid busy times in stores.

After successful trials at Woolworths stores in Taylors Lakes, Hampton Park, South Melbourne and St Helena, the supermarket extended its ‘book my shop feature’ to more than 40 stores.

“More than 35,000 of our customers have already made use of Q-Tracker to plan their shop and hundreds have booked in shopping times at our trial stores,” Hall added.

This move comes after Woolworths “strongly” encouraged customers in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT to wear face masks in its stores.

In May, Woolworths came under scrutiny after its self-serve counters appeared to be filming customers, Gizmodo reported.

However, Woolworths said it was trialling new technology in a bid to catch people doing the wrong thing at self-serve checkouts.

“We know most of our customers do the right thing at our self-serve checkouts, however we’re trialling this new security technology for those that don’t,” a Woolworths spokesperson said in a tweet at the time.

“This recording is only a live reflection of you, and will only be shown on the self checkout screen in front of you. If you do not wish to be a part of the trial, you are welcome to use the staffed checkouts.”