Warrnambool hospitality owners are on high alert after reports of customers attempting to enter venues using faked vaccination check-in pages.
The check-in pages in the Service Victoria app display a green "valid certificate" icon if a person is fully vaccinated. These pages are much easier to falsify than the digital vaccination certificate itself, which is a live image, whereas the check-in pages are static.
Whalers Hotel owner Alister Porter said while he hadn't had to turn anyone away yet for using faked documents, he knew they were out there.
"I've seen that there are fake ones getting about and one of my staff showed me an example," he said.
He said the Whalers had implemented rigorous customer checks.
"We've been getting all patrons to show their actual certificate."
A person providing false or misleading information about their vaccination status risks a $10,904 fine.
Businesses that fail to enforce customer check-in procedures risk a fine of up to $21,809.
Mr Porter said customers were becoming much more understanding of the check-in and vaccination protocols, but it wasn't so easy when the customer vaccination rules first came in.
"In the first week or so after the requirement came in we had to turn a lot of people away, which caused some tension," he said.
The main difficulty he still faced was having to have a designated "COVID marshall" checking customers at the door.
"The biggest pain for us is having to waste a staff member checking certificates, which puts a strain on the whole team."
Mark McIlroy, who owns Rafferty's Tavern, said he had been manning the door himself and so far he hadn't seen any vaccination documents that looked suspicious.
"We've been checking vigorously because we had heard from the hotel association that there were fakes around," he said.
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Mr McIlroy said he was getting customers to go beyond the check-in screen to their digital certificate and then cross checking the certificate with their photo ID.
He said most people were pretty good about the thorough checks.
"Some get frustrated and annoyed but that's just the new normal," he said.
Hotel Warrnambool owner Steve Phillpot said he hadn't had any incidents with frustrated customers getting turned away.
"We haven't had any particular drama," he said.
"We have had someone on the door checking people and we've been fully booked the whole time."
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