Bunbury businesses find lack of support in delivering COVID-19 vaccination mandates

Confused: Bunbury businesses have called on the state government for assistance on how to implement vaccination mandates. Picture: Supplied
Confused: Bunbury businesses have called on the state government for assistance on how to implement vaccination mandates. Picture: Supplied

BUNBURY businesses have struggled with implementing COVID-19 vaccination requirements for customers as mandated by the state government.

As of January 31, double dose proof of COVID-19 vaccination was required for all customers aged 16 and over to visit a list of venues including cafes, bottle shops, gyms and indoor entertainment.

Cafes in Bunbury, including Caf-fez and The Happy Wife, both shared with the Mail their confusion over how to implement the mandates.

The Happy Wife Cafe owner Dave Chandler said while he had implemented all of the requirements of the government such as mandatory check ins and social distancing, he was somewhat still in the dark.

"With masks for example - when people say they have an exemption from wearing one, what do we say? What is classified as an exemption? Is it our responsibility or theirs?" Mr Chandler said.

"Do we ask every customer to show us their ServiceWA App check in? What about their kids? If they sit outside do they need to be vaccinated? We have no idea what we can or cannot do."

Caf-fez Bunbury owner Bianca Fletcher said although she followed all the ruling, state government guidelines needed to be updated in regards to how to manage vaccinated versus unvaccinated patrons.

"Our till is quite far from the door, so there are logistical things that would be great to have more guidance on," Ms Fletcher said.

"Can people enter to use the till and look at the cakes on display if they're unvaccinated? I still don't know whether I'm allowed to let people in to order a takeaway and then if they're not vaccinated, ask them to wait outside.

"The documentation on the government websites are fine, but they need to be updated."

Minister for Small Business Don Punch said the state government was producing "a range of support measures" to help Bunbury businesses with proof-of-vaccination requirements, which included a "new awareness" campaign.

"This includes material produced by the Small Business Development Corporation to help guide workers with de-escalating situations relating to proof of vaccination," Mr Punch said.

"The campaign will encourage ...the public... to be kind when staff ask for proof of vaccination."

Vamp Fit owner Joe Catalano said he didn't agree with the new mandate because it would be too hard to police.

"I'm not here 24 hours a day, if the government want to enforce it then they should pay for someone to be here to do that," Mr Catalano said.

"I'm checking with people when I'm here but what happens if a casual member comes in late at night and a backpacker follows them in?They [government] have gone overboard and it's escalated in a bad way."