The Western Australian government has announced the expansion of its proof of vaccination policy, with additional requirements to take effect from January 31.
Since January 4, proof of vaccination has been required for a number of venues and events in the Perth and Peel region, as part of a safe transition plan after a COVID-19 Delta variant cluster amongst backpackers in the area. But now the government has expanded the policy state-wide and included new ‘higher-risk venue’ types, as it prepares to ease its hard border from February 5.
The expansion means that as of January 31, double dose proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will be required across the whole of WA for people entering bottle shops and all hospitality venues, including restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, clubs, taverns, night clubs and dine-in fast food outlets. The policy will also apply to other venue types, including those are are visiting hospitals and aged care facilities, or attending indoor entertainment venues, stadiums and gyms.
Vaccination status can be proven either in digital or paper form, with an option available via the recently launched ServiceWA app. The government said it will be the “shared responsibility” of staff and patrons to comply with the new requirements, with venues required to “take reasonable steps to ensure all patrons are double dose vaccinated, or exempt.”
Premier Mark McGowan said the latest health advice, combined with the success of the interim policy caused by the backpacker outbreak, has influenced this latest decision. It coincides with an existing policy for certain parts of the workforce to also be vaccinated.
“This means the vast majority of Western Australians will be double dose vaccinated and we are providing businesses and venues more than two weeks to implement the changes,” Premier McGowan said.
“I thank businesses and the community for their efforts in Perth and Peel to make the policy to date a success. We now need to replicate that success across the State.
“We know that those in hospitals around the country are mainly unvaccinated people, so I urge you if you aren’t vaccinated – do it now. If you don’t get vaccinated, the message is clear – we will not let you put others at risk.”
Health Minister, Amber-Jade Sanderson, added: “Vaccination is our best protection from COVID-19 and we thank Western Australians for doing the right thing and rolling up their sleeves.
“The Omicron variant is a game changer and as we head towards our safe transition it is essential that we implement the necessary public health and social measures to protect ourselves.”
Speaking about the changes, Retail Drinks CEO, Michael Waters, said:“Retail Drinks understands the need for all West Australians to do their part in ensuring the community is safe from the impacts of COVID-19. Liquor retail has been classified as an essential service in every Australian state and territory since the initial outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, and liquor retailers have demonstrated their commitment to retailing responsibly.
“Retail Drinks will continue to work proactively and collaboratively with the McGowan Government to ensure that the latest requirements do not compromise the safety of our members’ staff at the front line, and minimise the impact on retail liquor businesses, particularly those small, independent retailers.”