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Border Mail - Border businesses Nook and  lead the way on COVID-19 technology

Border businesses Nook and  lead the way on COVID-19 technology

By Jodie Bruton

THE Border hospitality sector is embracing homegrown technology to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

About 20 Albury restaurants and cafes have adopted Nook, which uses QR code technology to direct patrons to an online landing page to record their contact information.

Albury-based Nook co-creator Bella Chambers said she was inspired to develop the app after seeing venues struggling to manage the government's information and sanitisation standards.

Ms Chambers said patrons' time and date of sign-in was instantly collated in a digital spreadsheet, which venue owners could access should it be needed by health authorities to track community transmission of COVID-19.

She said the Crossroads Hotel coronavirus hotspot was a big wake-up call.

"Signing-in can be a logistical nightmare for some businesses," she said.

"The app allows businesses to reduce touch-points as patrons do not need to share pens or sheets of paper."

2640 Restaurant and Bar owner Joel Carey said the system had streamlined the sign-in process for his Albury eatery this week.

"It's very simple to use and avoids storing all of those pieces of paper," he said.

"It stores the data for 28 days and only we can access that should we need to."

Ms Chambers said Nook would soon offer a function to allow patrons to view menus on their mobiles.

"It's reducing touch-points again and is even better than sanitising laminated menus and more sustainable than printing out new paper menus," Ms Chambers said.

"You still order with a member of staff because we didn't want the technology to take away that connection."

Wodonga-based Marshane Media has developed a digital sign-in register and hand sanitiser station.

Cafe Borellas, which was praised for its COVID-Safe practices this week, and Tucker on Townsend have already installed the units.

Marshane Media owner and director Matthew Lyon said the technology was developed over three months.

"It will benefit more than just the hospitality sector," he said.

"It would benefit gyms, display homes; anywhere where someone is visiting for a length of time."

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