Some Canberra sex workers are concerned the Check In CBR app becoming mandatory will drive business away.
From Saturday the Check In CBR app is mandatory for restricted businesses including strip clubs, brothels, and escort agencies.
A spokesperson from Sex Workers Outreach Program ACT (SWOP ACT) said sex work was heavily stigmatised for workers and clients.
"Some sex workers are still having to hide their occupation from family, friends, and partners whilst some clients of the sex industry still hide their access to a personal service industry," the spokesperson said.
"Mandating the use of the Check In CBR app across our community further ingrains this [stigma]."
The spokesperson suggested there should be a paper-based sign-in option alongside the Check In CBR app for clients concerned about their privacy.
The spokesperson said clients may be scared away by the app leading to financial issues for workers.
"I can see how clients will see how this move by the ACT Government will be seen to impinge on their privacy and autonomy to access their discreet pleasurable pursuits," the spokesperson said.
"Clients of the sex industry may not access brothels, escort agencies, and strip bars to avoid checking in on their mobile and the sex industry business name and location to be recorded on the app's history.
"Some sex industry clients will be wary of this especially those that do not have arrangements within their current relationships to access sex workers.
"The flow-on effect will be the decrease in the earning potential of sex workers therefore directly impacting the livelihood of sex workers and their dependents."
Meridian chief executive Philippa Moss said the risk of violence is another concern.
"As we know from other businesses, including cafes and restaurants, clients can become agitated and aggressive if they feel that their privacy is being compromised," she said.
Langtrees VIP Lounge Canberra general manager Aaron Jones said the bordello has used a paid check-in app since returning to business in August 2020.
Mr Jones said 95 per cent of patrons had been compliant with the old app and expected clients would comply with the Check In CBR app.
He said Langtrees Canberra invested $3500 to 4000 in the app, which allowed patrons to check-in and answer questions about overseas and interstate travel.
"I think the downside in the [Check in CBR app] technology is I lose the ability to pose those questions to the customers prior to entry," he said.
"The flaw with this entire process is there no way to actually verify if the information that patrons, either on the Check-In CBR app or with the app we've previously used, is correct."
Mr Jones said he worked with Access Canberra and ACT Health to ensure the bordello could use its business name rather than its trading name to register with the app.
Like many brothels, escort services, and strip clubs, Langtrees Canberra is registered with a generic business name that does not reference the adult industry.
"[Access Canberra and ACT Health] have been very understanding that we do need to show some discretion and privacy for both the girls and our clients," Mr Jones said.
"I think allowing us to be able to operate with our legal entity name has helped to be able to maintain that privacy."
Mr Jones said ACT Health assured him if clients were contacted about a breach, contact tracers would discreetly tell clients the business name was also known as Langtrees Canberra.
An ACT Government spokesperson said Access Canberra, rather than ACT Policing, would conduct compliance checks of restricted businesses with an "engage, educated and enforce" approach.
"Access Canberra will be active over the weekend, to observe and support business to ensure patrons are using the Check In CBR App," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Access Canberra made more than 250 visits to businesses to help them register the app.
Since the announcement that the app would become mandatory more than 2000 businesses have registered with Check In-CBR.
The spokesperson said data from the Check In CBR app is stored on servers within Australia, deleted after 28 days, and only accessed by contact tracers from ACT Health in the case of an outbreak.
"The business or venue does not store any details, even if they check in patrons on their behalf," the spokesperson said.
"The data is protected by the same ICT security measures as health records [and] security assessments are undertaken on a regular basis."