WA Government says responsibility falls to individuals

Margaret River Cafe owner Deborah Carter says most of her customers do the right thing, but has experienced backlash when asking people to adhere to COVID-19 regulations.

Margaret River Cafe owner Deborah Carter says most of her customers do the right thing, but has experienced backlash when asking people to adhere to COVID-19 regulations.

The WA Government has urged people to adhere to the latest round of COVID-19 related restrictions after businesses in regional areas expressed alarm over their ability to enforce the rules.

In the eased restrictions announced by Premier Mark McGowan on Friday afternoon, people in Western Australia were advised 'anyone who has been in Perth and Peel since Sunday, 27 June is subject to same mask wearing requirements and will not be allowed to visit hospitality, entertainment, recreation venues or other public gatherings until after 12:01am Tuesday 6 July. People are permitted to enter retail venues and purchase takeaway'.

Margaret River cafe owner Deborah Carter said she and her staff had already experienced varying levels of anger when asking customers to sign the mandatory contact register.

"We've also had negative online reviews from people who were angry that we asked them to follow the Government advice, marking us with one star and detracting from our business," she said.

"To avoid conflict, and unnecessary stress and damage to the business, the best option is to let it slide, which is not a good thing because of the 'what if'.

"So you tell a customer, 'hey, sign in please, wear a mask when you're not eating or drinking... and we get a response like 'who are you to tell me what to do'."

Mrs Carter said serving customers from Perth would draw ire from locals who expect the restrictions to be enforced.

"Or, we can not say anything, let them spend their money and hope no one brings COVID-19 to our town."

Last week, a local supermarket employee was verbally abused by a male customer who "screamed centimetres from her face" when asked to sign in at the mandatory contact register.

A State Government spokesperson said the burden was on individuals to do the right thing.

"The responsibility for complying with the interim travel restrictions falls upon the individuals who travel from the Perth and Peel regions," the spokesperson said.

"Individuals are urged to apply common sense and do the right thing to protect themselves, their family and their community.

"Throughout the pandemic, the overwhelming majority of Western Australians have done the right thing and we urge people to keep this up."

Have you experienced difficulties in managing COVID-19 regulations at work? Let us know by email to nicky.lefebvre@margaretrivermail.com.au

This story Businesses fear reprisals over COVID-19 restrictions first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.