Coronavirus tracing app designed for Swiss restaurant owners and clients

Groups will be limited to four people and there must be a distance of at least two metres between tables Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

The Swiss hospitality industry has developed a smartphone application that allows the secure transfer of contact details from customers to restaurant owners via a QR code to assist with contact tracing efforts.  

This content was published on May 12, 2020 - 11:17

The easing of coronavirus restrictions in Switzerland has meant that people can frequent bars and restaurants from May 11. However, the government wants eating establishments to request the contact details of their clients to help with virus contact tracing. Customers, meanwhile, are not obliged to share their telephone numbers due to data protection laws and can only be encouraged to do so voluntarily. 

In order to assuage privacy concerns, two companies specialising in hospitality software - Hotelpro4u and SwissHelios Sàrl – have developed smartphone applications to facilitate the secure transfer of client information.  

When the system is operational, customers will be able to download the CovidPass app and enter their contact information on their own mobile phone. This will be transformed into a secure encrypted QR code ensuring that their personal data does not leave their phone. 

Restaurant owners can then download the GastroCovid app and scan their customer's QR Code or manually enter the customer's details, which will be stored on secured servers. This data is not accessible to the restaurant owner and will be destroyed automatically after 14 days. The information also includes date, time, table number and server name.  

Only authorised personnel of the cantonal health services can request and access the data stored on secured servers via a secure key. The implementation of a blockchain model guarantees access to the data only to the cantonal health services, according to the developers.  

The health authorities can check the restaurant's database when a patient who has tested positive reveals that he or she went to the establishment during the contagious phase.  

The developers claim that the apps respect federal law on data protection. The apps are expected to be available on the Apple and Google Play stores this week.  

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