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Business guide to the NHS COVID-19 App

The NHS COVID-19 App is a tool designed to reduce the threat of coronavirus to our health, whilst helping to keep the doors of our businesses open.

Launched in 2020, the App aims to simplify the Test and Trace process by enabling the public to automatically “check into” a venue and get alerted if they have recently visited a venue where they have come into contact with coronavirus. The tool is quickly set up by completing an online form, printing and displaying a QR code poster and requesting that all visitors scan this on arrival at your premises.

Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, are legally required to display an official NHS QR code poster.

To ensure compliance with the new legislation, business owners should follow these steps:

1.            Create a QR code for your venue online

2.            Print and display the poster by the entrance(s) to your premises

3.            Encourage all visitors to scan the poster to check in on arrival at your venue

4.            Provide an alternative process to collect data for individuals without a smartphone or access to the app

To support businesses to better understand what steps they must take to support the NHS Test and Trace service and comply with the new legal requirements, we have developed an easy-to-read infographic

Is your business compliant with the new Test and Trace requirements?

What is the NHS COVID-19 app? 

The NHS Test and Trace app has been designed to work alongside traditional contact tracing services and testing, to help people to understand if they are at risk of infection so they can take action to protect themselves and their communities.

The app allows users to:

• Get alerted if they’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus
• Get alerted if they have recently visited a venue where they may have come into contact with coronavirus (The alert message will not mention the name of the venue)
• Know the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode district
• Check if they have coronavirus symptoms and easily book a test
• Keep track of their self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice

You can find common questions relating to the different features of the app here. A detailed explainer pack is also available through the NHS website.

The public can also access the NHS COVID-19 app: privacy notice here.

What do businesses have to do? 

1. Create and display a poster with a QR code that will enable your visitors and/or customers to check into your venue. 

2. Ensure the facility to collect data from individuals who do not have the app or a smartphone. This data must be collected and retained for 21 days. 

Which businesses need to do this? 

If your business is included in one of the sectors legally required to maintain a customer log, then you are also now expected to display an NHS QR code poster at your premises under law.

This applies to:

  • Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality settings open to the general public
  • Tourism and leisure venes including hotels, museums, leisure centres, gyms, cinemas etc.
  • Close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, tailors, beauty salons etc.
  • Facilities provided by Local Authorities, including community centres, youth and community centres and village halls

If your business is not included in the sectors listed above, but is visited by members of the public and has a space where people congregate, you are encouraged to also create a QR code poster for the entrance to your premises. Examples of this include:

  • Shops and supermarkets (QR posters only likely to be useful for cafes/restaurants or other enclosed facilities within the venue where customers may congregate).
  • Offices with a high volume of external visitors
  • Places of worship, including use for events and other community activities

To view the full list of businesses required to download and display the QR code poster, visit the NHS website.

If a business displays an NHS QR Code poster, is it required to continue collecting contact details by other routes?

In England, people who check-in with the official NHS QR poster will not have to provide their contact details as part of the staff, customer and visitor logs. However, businesses will still be required to maintain an alternative check-in method (such as a handwritten register) to collect the contact details of those who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app. 

In hospitality, when a group visits your premises you will need to ensure that all members of the party provide their contact details or that the whole group "checks in" using the official NHS QR code poster. Businesses in the hospitality sector must also take reasonable steps to refuse entry to those who refuse to participate. 

If a business is currently using its own QR code check-in system, can it continue to use this instead of the official NHS QR code posters?

In England, businesses currently using their own QR code system to collect records of staff, visitors or customers, should now switch to the official NHS QR code system.

How can businesses create and download an NHS QR code poster?

• Businesses can create their QR Code poster by visiting the government’s dedicated website, here
• The NHS has developed an easy to read infographic to guide businesses and venues through the process 
• If you have more than one venue, you need to create a separate QR code for each location

What should businesses do when they receive the QR Code poster?

When you receive your QR code poster you should:

• print the poster (If you do not have a printer, you can show the QR code on a display screen, such as a TV or tablet. You will need to ensure it is within reach so visitors can scan it with their mobile phones)
• display the poster somewhere visitors can see it and scan it when they arrive, for example next to the entrance (You should display posters at all entry points to your venue. The same poster should be used at each of these points unless you have a very large venue) 
• ask visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using their NHS COVID-19 app
• display as many posters as you need to, to avoid queues forming

How should I display my poster? 

  • The poster must be A4 and include the header and footer
  • It must be no higher than 130cm from the ground
  • The poster must be displayed at every entrance to your building, with additional posters inside
  • The poster must be in a visible and safe position, where they cannot be easily removed

In order to allow visitors and customers to scan the QR code it should not be

  • posted on sliding or revolving doors, or in areas with high glare
  • wrapped around a pole
  • posted on a glossy surface e.g. laminate
  • printed on high gloss paper
  • placed in narrow, high up or hard to see areas

Additional guidance on how you should display the posters is available through the NHS website.

Additional Resources

Introducing the NHS COVID-19 App

Download the Explainer Pack to understand how individuals can use the App to support Test and Trace. 


Get help downloading the NHS COVID-19 app

Access online guides to help individuals access the app. 

Get help

Advice for employers

Search the NHS' directory of frequently asked questions for more advice for businesses and organisations.

Search common questions

More information is available on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Support website. For more personalised advice call us on: 0161 237 4128 or email us at:



The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.