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NHS Test and Trace

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What is Test and Trace?

NHS Test and Trace launched in England and Wales on Thursday 24th September 2020. Test and Trace is designed to trace the spread of COVID-19, so new infections can be isolated. The technology also provides an early warning if cases are increasing again, whether locally or nationally. Test and Trace records the close and recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, and if necessary, informs them that they must self-isolate at home to prevent spreading the virus. The service also ensures quicker testing of those showing symptoms of COVID-19.

What are Test and Trace QR codes and why do I need to download them?

Businesses need to download and display QR codes, as these are vital for contacting people if a COVID-19 outbreak is identified.

QR codes will help businesses in England to meet the new legal requirement to record staff, customer and visitor details. Those with their own QR system are encouraged to move to the NHS Test and Trace system. If you choose not to use the Test and Trace app, a handwritten register or alternative check-in process must be utilised to collect details.

QR posters are unique to each venue and can be downloaded here.

Hospitality venues are legally required to display an official NHS QR code poster and ensure that all individuals are asked to scan the QR code or provide their contact details. New official NHS QR code posters for the hospitality sector have been sent to all hospitality venues who had already downloaded a QR code. Please replace your existing official NHS QR code posters with the new hospitality specific posters. If you did not receive your new hospitality poster, or you need to download another poster for any reason, you can generate a new one using this link: Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue - GOV.UK (

  • The new posters are distinct and stand out from the posters at venues where it is not mandatory to check in to enter, so that customers understand where they will be refused entry if they choose not to scan the official NHS QR code or provide their contact details.
  • The new posters specify that every customer must check in either by scanning the official NHS QR code or by giving their contact details. This will help customers know what is expected of them and will support your staff, who can refer to the poster to support conversations with customers.

Please note the following when displaying the official NHS QR code poster at your venue:

  • Venues should display their official NHS QR code posters in a prominent and accessible place at the entrance and ensure that venue staff understand the do’s and don’ts.
  • In England, if you’re currently using your own QR code system to collect contact details, we encourage you to switch to the official NHS QR code system. By supporting the official NHS system, you’ll be protecting your staff, customers and visitors.You must also ensure that you have a method of collecting contact details of customers that does not rely the individual owning a smartphone or other technology, e.g. you must also offer a non-QR code option. This is to ensure that no one is digitally excluded.
  • If you use any other QR code system at your venue, you must ensure that it does not show any NHS or NHS Test and Trace logos. You should also explain to your customers and visitors that you are using more than one QR code system in your venue. Unofficial QR codes will not work with the NHS COVID-19 app, can cause confusion for visitors, and could result in them missing important public health advice. 
  • If you do not have access to a printer you can display your official QR code poster at your venue using digital signage, for example, a TV screen or iPad.

More tips on how to display your official NHS QR code poster can be found here

You must display an official NHS QR code poster, have a system in place to request and record contact details of your customers, visitors and staff and do the following:

  • ask every customer or visitor over the age of 16 to scan the official NHS QR code, or provide their name and contact details;
  • keep a record of all staff working on their premises, their shift times, and contact details;
  • offer a method for individuals to check in which does not require that person to own a smartphone or other form of technology;
  • keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested, and securely destroy them after 21 days in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR);
  • hospitality venues only: take reasonable steps to refuse entry to those who refuse to participate (except where exemptions apply).
  • If all visitors supply their contact details in advance (e.g., through booking system) they don't need to sign in again at the venue, but they can still scan the official NHS QR code poster if they want to.

Please note, if someone does not wish to share their details, provides incomplete or incorrect information or chooses not to scan the official NHS QR code, then hospitality venues should take reasonable steps to refuse entry. This does not apply for takeaway service. Please ensure that all of your staff are familiar and trained on the rules, as failure to do any of these requirements could result in fixed penalty fines starting at £1,000. Other settings in scope of the requirements should ensure they follow all of the above steps and must ask individuals to check in, but should not refuse entry if a person does not want to participate.

The requirements above are specific to England. For more information please click here.

Guidance differs for venues in Wales. For further details please visit Keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors: test, trace, protect | GOV.WALES.


You do not need to ask individuals to check in if: 

  • the person is a police officer or emergency responder on duty;
  • the customer’s visit is for the sole purpose of making a delivery or collection by supplies or contractors, including food or physical goods;
  • the person is under the age of 16. If an individual says they are under the age of 16, you do not need to ask for identification;
  • someone does not have capacity to provide their contact details owing to a physical or mental disability or other reason related to their health; 
  • you have reason to believe someone can’t provide the details for disability reasons and don’t ask for them as a result.Businesses will not be in breach of the requirements if this is the case;
  • the customer is homeless and unable to provide a contact number or email address.

Further information and resources can be found at:

Why is Test and Trace important?

Test and Trace will provide users with local risk information, allow them to book a test, and use the QR scanner to check-in to shops, venues and more. The app will inform people if they are at risk of COVID-19, allowing them to self-isolate to protect others.

For more information on NHS Test and Trace, visit the website.

Still confused?

Or do you want a more in-depth understanding of what a QR code is? The video below breaks down QR codes, Test and Trace and everything you need to do in just two minutes.