Both health authorities and the Public Security Police Force (PSP) agree that private institutions and companies can “force” citizens to record their itinerary on entry to their premises, authorities said yesterday during the weekly briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Macau.
Although government guidelines limit this obligation to public services, local authorities agree that it is acceptable for the private sector to follow the same standard without breaching the law.
Responding to media questions, the coordinator of the local Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Leong Iek Hou, said that since there is no clear regulation on the matter, private entities “can do whatever they decide in demanding that people register their itinerary [before entering their premises],” she said. She added that, while the guidelines stipulate that mandatory itinerary recording using the health code applies only to all public services and departments, “we encourage other establishments to do the same by helping people to register their itinerary.”
Reports are emerging that several entities such as banks, restaurants and shopping malls, among others, are refusing entry to citizens who decline to register their itinerary.
Leong also added that even in cases where the individual does not possess a smart phone and thus cannot scan the health code, the establishment can still request citizens’ personal information and register this on paper.
In response to further questions from the media about the legality of these actions, the PSP representative at the press briefing, Ma Chio Hong, insisted that, on private property, “owners can refuse entry to some people if they decide to do so,” adding, “we think this is reasonable if we consider that the reason that justifies the refusal of entry is related to pandemic prevention.”
Ma also added that citizens should comply with government guidelines in both public or private services.
Commenting on the legality of refusing entry to certain premises, the same official added that it is only in cases where private entities decide to “have additional measures [going beyond those enforced by the government], then we need to analyze whether this is legal or not.”
“If the purpose is to fight the epidemic, this is reasonable,” Ma concluded.
Location scanning preferredto reverse scanning
Dr. Leong Iek Hou noted that location QR code scanning is preferred by health authorities. She argued that while reverse scanning, whereby the venue scans a visitor’s health code, also provides a record of the citizen’s entry to a certain venue, it would be easier for authorities to retrace their itinerary if it is the citizen themselves scanning the venue’s QR code.
Leong also added that, with location scanning, authorities can immediately inform individuals that they need to take a nucleic acid test or be placed in quarantine if, at a later stage, the individual is found to be a close contact of a Covid-19 case.