SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner says under the Public Health Act the province can ask businesses and public venues to collect personal information of patrons to allow for contract tracing for COVID-19.

However, that information is confidential, cannot be sold or used for other purposes. It must also be destroyed within 30 days, Ron Kruzeniski said.

The requirements were implemented Nov. 27 and since then business owners and hosts have been collecting names and phones number or emails of people spending time in their establishments.

This includes restaurants, licensed establishments, casinos, bingo halls, arenas, theatres, indoor gathering places, sports and fitness facilities and places of worship.

Kruzeniski says he has no jurisdiction over restaurants and licensed establishments but he does have some recommendations on how to keep personal information safe.

“Set it up in such a way that when I put down my name and phone number and email … only the restaurant owner or manager can see it, not the next patron that comes in the door,” Kruzeniski said.

Montana’s BBQ & Bar franchises developed a paperless registration system where customers use their smart phones to scan a QR code that directs customers to a website they use sign in.

Prince Albert Montana’s owner and franchisee Devin Panchuk said the franchise was in the process of rollout the website when the legislation came down.

“We've been assured that once the government mandated amount of time to keep that information has been achieved that the information is then purged and it's kept by anybody, It's not passed to anybody,” said Panchuk.

Panchuk says the online system has made collecting patrons’ information easier for staff and it’s put customers at ease.

“Sheets of paper on a desk can be misplaced or stolen, or used for other purposes.”

Kruzeniski says restaurants are governed the federal privacy commissioner and the public is to direct their concerns to the federal office.