New South Wales residents were left unable to check in to restaurants and other venues on Thursday afternoon using the state’s official Covid check-in app, Service NSW, after it went offline.

The outage lasted about four hours and affected the official Service NSW app, although Service NSW said its coronavirus webform check-in was not impacted.

In a statement about 7.30pm, a spokesperson for the agency said the app was restored following “an unexpected outage preventing customers from accessing some services”.

“There is no evidence to suggest the outage was the result of a cyber attack,” they said. “Service NSW apologises for any inconvenience caused by the outage and thanks customers for their understanding during this time.”

The app is used not only for check-ins at bars, restaurants and venues across the state for record-keeping for Covid-19 but also for digital driver’s licences and registration renewals.

Several people tweeted earlier on Thursday afternoon they were locked out of the app when it informed them they had entered an incorrect pin. As a result, they were unable to use it to complete a Covid check-in at venues.

Service NSW tweeted the agency was “aware of an issue affecting multiple Service NSW transactions and services” but did not provide any information on the cause or an estimated time for the issue to be resolved.

A spokesperson for Service NSW apologised for the “unplanned outage” and said people should use the Service NSW webform to complete check-ins until it was fixed.

“It is vital that customer check-in details are still collected digitally to remain Covid safe. Customers and businesses are encouraged to use the Service NSW webform for all check-ins. The webform is not impacted by the outage,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“Customers can access the webform by scanning the QR code or businesses can display the check-in webform on their own devices for customers to use.”

Last week, the NSW government announced the app had been downloaded more than 4m times, accounting for about half of the state’s population, with 117m check-ins at more than 80,000 venues using the app to record visitors for contact tracing purposes.

Using the app, people scan a QR code and it records their details, which are held by Service NSW for 28 days and then deleted unless that venue is the site of a Covid-19 outbreak, in which case the details are passed on to NSW Health for contact tracing.

The NSW government said last week that 94% of businesses using the Service NSW system had given the app the “thumbs up”.

This content first appear on the guardian

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