What WA’s new strict proof of vaccination rules mean for businesses and the community

Unvaccinated people in Western Australia face being barred from most venues across the state, after Premier Mark McGowan announced strict new proof of vaccination rules from January 31.

The expanded mandate means you must be double-jabbed to enter all cafes, gyms, movie cinemas and more at venues from the Great Southern up to the Kimberley.

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But the strict announcement has left some people confused on where the line is drawn.

Where do the new rules apply?

The new rule will affect everyone aged 16 and older state-wide at the below locations:

  • Visitors to public and private hospitals, and residential aged care facilities
  • All hospitality and food and licensed venues including restaurants, dine-in fast food, cafes, bars, pubs, clubs, taverns
  • Bottle shops
  • Indoor entertainment venues, including play centres, gaming and gambling, theatres, concert halls, museums, cinemas and live music venues
  • Nightclubs
  • Crown Perth complex
  • Major stadiums
  • Gyms, fitness studios and centres
  • Amusement Parks and the zoo
  • Music festivals and large events with more than 500 people

Community sport and school-based events are exempt from the requirement unless hosted at one of venues listed.

Those with a valid medical exemption will be treated as vaccinated, according to WA Health.

There’s been confusion over drive through rules.

WA Health confirmed on Friday the unvaccinated can pick up food or coffee in their car, but can’t collect alcohol at drive-through services as it’s “not considered essential”.

Food and non-alcoholic beverage takeaway, roadhouses, and service stations are excluded from the mandate.

What does it mean for businesses?

Just over 24 hours after the new rules were announced, Perth businesses are split and some are struggling to make it work.

With one in 20 West Australians still not vaccinated, some businesses say the cost to consumers will inevitably go up, as they can’t afford extra staff to check vaccine certificates or the loss of their unvaccinated customers.

Perth businesses are worried about their staff being abused by angry customers.

Mark McGowan on Thursday announced strict new restrictions that would see unvaccinated West Australians barred from society. Credit: AAP

The onus is on businesses to police their customers.

Liquor Stores Association of WA’s Peter Kapsanis said under the act, quarrelsome or troublesome patrons can be asked to leave the premises.

“Venues, staff and patrons will all have a shared responsibility when it comes to showing proof of vaccination, with venues required to take reasonable steps to ensure all patrons are double dose vaccinated, or have a medical exemption,” the WA goverment states on its website.

WA Police said it will have a zero tolerance for any anti-social behaviour, vowing to throw the book at anyone who threatens staff, with aggravated common assault holding a maximum penalty of three years behind bars and a fine of almost $40,000.

Businesses are also under the police microscope, with officers to conduct spot checks to make sure staff are doing their checks.

Those caught doing the wrong thing could face a fine of up to $50,000 or 12 months in jail.

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