Mobile app for vaccinated or tested people could allow a partial return to pubs and salons

A smart phone app would allow people to go to ‘safe establishments’ with other patrons who have been screened.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 30.03.2021 13:52 (updated on 30.03.2021)

A planned mobile app could allow people who are vaccinated or tested negative for Covid to pubs, hair salons, fitness centers, and other services.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce (HK ČR), the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), and the Health Ministry are discussing the creation and possible use of the app, according to news server Aktualne.cz.

Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček confirmed the government is interested in the project. “The conditions of use have not been set yet; it will be discussed by the government," he told Aktualne.cz

The app would have two functions. It would assure the establishment that the person entering it is at a low risk for having Covid, and it would tell the user that the establishment they are going to has taken steps to create a safe environment with only screened patrons and staffed.

The user would log in and enter confirmation of Covid vaccination, recovery from Covid, or a negative test. A map in the app would show the nearest participating place that had registered as a safe establishment. When the patron enters the establishment, an employee would scan a QR code generated on their phone. People without a smartphone can print the QR code on paper. The application would be connected to already functioning government systems that contain information about vaccination.

The project is at the beginning stages. Zdeněk Zajíček, who is vice president of HK ČR as well as president of technology umbrella group ICT Unie, confirmed to Aktualne.cz that the negotiations on developing the platform with ÚZIS and the Health Ministry began a week ago. Health Ministry spokeswoman Barbora Peterová said a decision about using the app would come in the near future.

Right now, there are no concrete plans for how establishments such as pubs, fitness centers, or hair salons will reopen, or whether proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test will play any role. The app could help entrepreneurs to be prepared for the waves of relaxation of rules if establishments were allowed to open in limited regimes for low-risk patrons first.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce, though, is not waiting for a decision and has already been in contact with technology companies. "On the business side, we are ready to prepare premises so that people can visit them," Zajíček said.

Some establishments might want to use the system even if it is not required, so they can reassure customers of safety. “It would suit those people who want to move in a safe environment,” Zajíček added.

The initial priority is that the app would be used by small establishments where only a limited number of people meet. If it is successful, it could be used for large events such as festivals as well.

Israel has been issuing digital vaccination certificates called Green Passes since February, and started having cultural events such as concerts in March, open only to those who had passes. The European Union has also been discussing the idea of Covid passports, which would allow vaccinated and tested people to travel abroad.