With a second wave of COVID-19 infections engulfing both sides of the Ottawa River, a Gatineau software firm has created a free platform aimed at making it easier for bars and restaurants to collect and securely store contact tracing data.
Macadamian Technologies recently launched LogQ, a smartphone app that allows patrons to enter their personal information into a secure database upon entering a bar or restaurant. The system requires customers to input a special authentication code to verify that the phone number they provided is accurate.
The company says it will store all data in a secure private registry, adding bars and restaurants will not have access to any of the information. If a restaurant or bar is notified of a COVID-19 outbreak, it can ask Macadamian to search the database.
“Macadamian provides an effective solution that allows restaurant and bar owners to comply with government health regulations for contact notification while ensuring the accuracy, privacy and security of their customers’ data,” Timon LeDain, director of emerging technologies and products at Macadamian, said in a statement.
The platform requires customers to download the LogQ app. A geolocation feature instantly notifies users which nearby bars and restaurants are offering the service.
With Gatineau recently moving from a “yellow” to an “orange” COVID-19 alert zone, the Quebec government is urging bars and restaurants to collect contact tracing information from all customers who dine or drink in their establishments and keep it on file for 30 days.
The food and beverage industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, and local economic development officials hope the new app will provide additional peace of mind as bars and restaurants struggle to convince customers that dining out is safe.
“We are striving to provide our members with a simple and easy way to reassure their customers and thrive in a COVID business environment,” Stefan Psenak, general manager of business organization Vision Centre-Ville, said in a statement, noting many establishments have seen sales fall 40 per cent or more during the pandemic.
Macadamian is partnering with Vision Centre-Ville and local economic development agency ID Gatineau to provide the platform free of charge to bars and restaurants in the city for the next six months. The company says a number of businesses have already registered.