Register key to staying COVID-safe

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
Gerald Apartment Hotel general manager Grant Pitman at The Old Man and the Sea rooftop bar.
Camera IconGerald Apartment Hotel general manager Grant Pitman at The Old Man and the Sea rooftop bar. Credit: Elise Van Aken/The Geraldton Guardian

Cafes, bars, gyms and beauty salons are among a range of WA businesses and premises which will be required to maintain mandatory contact registers for staff and patrons from tomorrow — and local business people say it’s a small price to pay to protect the public’s health and livelihoods.

The State Government announced the new rules for Department of Health COVID-19 contact tracing last Wednesday, saying records would only be used for contact tracing should it be required, would only be kept for 28 days, and would not be used for any other reason.

The State Government has released a free app, SafeWA, which intends to provide businesses with a department-endorsed digital COVID-19 contact register system, but the app itself is not mandatory.

Alternative formats for contact registers are allowed, including other electronic tools or a paper-based system, depending on what is suitable for the business, venue or individual.

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The Gerald Apartment Hotel general manager Grant Pitman said the register was a small sacrifice for the good of people’s health and business.

The Gerald, home of Bob’s Bar and Old Man and The Sea, will be using a paper as well as an electronic register to suit all patrons.

“If we get COVID, particularly into Geraldton and the region, it’s going to affect business for everyone,” Mr Pitman, pictured, said.

“It’s more work for us. It’s going to incur more costs in terms of wages for someone to act as a concierge to make sure everybody signs in, but it’s a small inconvenience for the bigger picture.”

The decision was based on health advice and was a recommendation of the National Contact Tracing Review by Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

Small Business Minister Paul Papalia said the additional protection measure was considered as part of consultation with industry and businesses to look at how COVID safety plans could be updated and maintained in the longer term. He said it was important businesses had the flexibility to choose the best format for them and their customers within the required parameters.

The details required include the date, arrival time, names. and telephone numbers.

Failing to comply could result in fines and penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a body corporate. or 12 months jail.

WA businesses and venues required to keep a contact register include:

  • food and licenced venues (restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, taverns, nightclubs);
  • gyms, indoor sporting centres and pools;
  • places of worship and funeral parlours;
  • beauty and personal care services including hairdressers and barbers;
  • galleries and museums;
  • cinemas, theatres and other entertainment venues;
  • auction houses and real estate inspections;
  • community facilities, libraries and halls;
  • zoos and amusement parks;
  • function centres; and
  • accommodation facilities that already have check-in arrangements in place (i.e. hostels, hotels, large camp grounds).

More information can be found at https://www.wa.gov.au/SafeWA

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