Contact Tracing

As of October 4, 2021 when we enter into Phase 5, contact tracing is no longer mandatory.

Contract Tracing App for Dine-in Restaurants & Licensed Establishments

The province of Nova Scotia has been working with the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia (RANS) on a pilot project for an app that dine-in restaurants and licensed establishments can use to collect patrons’ contact information for contact tracing. This will help standardize collection practices, ensure privacy of information, and reduce the burden on businesses. It will also improve Public Health’s ability to contact patrons as needed. The Department of Business (DOB) is supporting RANS financially with the project.

Several companies were vetted and provided proposals. After careful deliberation, the company SimplyCast was selected to offer their contract tracing platform as part of this pilot project.


A Little Bit About SimplyCast

SimplyCast is an ISO 27001, 27017, and 27018-certified, leading provider of engagement software for organizations worldwide, providing both emergency and non-emergency communication technology. With customers in over 175 countries, including many of the most recognized names in retail, non-profit and hospitality industries, SimplyCast provides organizations the ability to effectively reach patrons on their preferred mode of communication. SimplyCast is already deploying this technology in Nova Scotia.


About the Project

RANS, in partnership (has contracted) with SimplyCast (a local technology company), is providing Nova Scotian restaurants and dine-in locations with an automated, SMS check-in system. This will provide dine-in restaurants with one year’s free service to the tracing app. Public Health will be able to access the system to track patrons to their location in order to meet restaurants’ mandatory requirement for COVID-19 contact tracing.

PH Order 11.1.1 indicates that restaurants must collect and maintain records for each patron.

How it Works

If a business has access to a short code number (a five or six-digit phone number that is easy to remember) it is able to register a keyword such as GUEST and customers would be asked to use their smartphones to text that designated word to the associated short code to register their visit.

For example, let’s say Charlotte and her family decide to go to a restaurant that has this digital check-in system implemented. When they arrive at the restaurant signage posted at the front door asks someone from the family to register their information for contact tracing purposes by texting “GUEST” to 11111. All Charlotte has to do is send a text message containing the word “GUEST” to the 11111 phone number and show the host the confirmation reply before they would be seated and served.

Two weeks later, it turns out that someone who had been to the restaurant around the same time as Charlotte and her family tested positive for COVID-19. Public Health officials are then able to pull the contact information from all the restaurant patrons who checked in with the short code keyword within a specified time frame and a notification could be sent out to Charlotte and family asking them to self-monitor for symptoms. Restaurants will not be required to do anything, as the database is stored in a secure location and managed off site.

For this particular project, Public Health will have designated staff that have access to the database and they will be able to access check-ins and track potential Covid exposure.

What if somebody comes into your establishment and does not have a phone?

You have two options. (1) you may take down the customers name and contact information and input it manually or (2) if you have a tablet or device that is accessible, the customer can fill out a web form that will be provided to you when you sign-up.


Sign-up Process for Restaurants

With mandatory contract tracing implemented across the province, SimplyCast has a quick and easy system to help you out.  No hidden fee, no installation charge! You are getting a ready-made check-in solution for free without taking any technical hassle.

Click here to sign-up!

Communicating to Your Patrons

You can download a poster to print and post at your establishment that shows guests coming in the steps to check-in (for contact tracing). Make sure to post it someplace visible and encourage everyone entering to text the appropriate keyword and number. There’s a space on the poster for you to write down your custom short code which is required when guests check-in.