CAMPAIGNERS have urged businesses to offer better support for older people amid fears they’re being left behind with electronic track and trace technology.

The reduction in coronavirus restrictions across the country has brought Glasgow closer to normality.

However, the need for customers of pubs and restaurants to sign up for the track and trace system – to ensure they are notified if any positive Covid-19 tests are recorded at the site – has meant many older punters have been left in the dark.

Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan, right, said: “As businesses have gradually reopened their doors in recent weeks, we have urged them not to exclude older, less tech-savvy customers in the inevitable push towards mandatory QR code check-ins and card-only payments.

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“We understand that the track and trace system is an important part of protecting staff and customers, and for many the quickest way to complete the process is scanning a QR code.

“We’re sure that businesses do not mean to intentionally exclude anyone, but there is clearly still a need for greater awareness and consideration of older customers without access to a smartphone.

“A digital-by-default system risks excluding the almost 600,000 over-60s who do not use a smartphone, as well as around 140,000 adults who do not have a bank account and are not able to offer cash-free payment.

“Those with older smartphone models may also struggle with compatibility of newer apps on their devices.”

Most firms are relying on QR codes to be scanned using a mobile phone but those who don’t carry them or who have phones which aren’t equipped with internet technology, have reported lengthy waiting times.

While a card-only service has resulted in customers being refused service altogether.

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The Scottish Government encourages all business to operate an accessible track and trace system, meaning a traditional pen and paper option should be available and staff are being urged to treat it as a priority.

Mr Sloan added: “Access to certain technology should not be an essential part of being able to get out and about again, so it’s important to remember that not everyone is able or wants to use a smartphone.

“Hearing that customers without smartphones are facing significant difficulty and delay when visiting restaurants and cafes could be a barrier for those considering whether or not to visit themselves.

“We hope that businesses will offer reassurances that alternative timely check-in and ordering options are available, and that all customers, with or without a smartphone, will be accommodated equally.”