Jabs, masks made mandatory
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
LOCAL businesses are facing losses – and risk of closure – as tough new COVID-19 virus restrictions are introduced in Toodyay.
New State Government rules announced at the end of last month require customers to show proof of vaccination (right) to enter the town’s two hotels and dine indoors at local cafes.
Customers buying food and non-alcoholic drinks at takeaway outlets are not required to show proof of vaccination.
Masks must be worn inside hotels except when seated at tables or outdoors.Read more
Patrons sitting on bar stools was a “grey area” for mask wearing, pub owners said.
Proof of vaccination is not required to enter the town’s IGA supermarket because it is classed as an essential service, but the new rules require shoppers to wear masks.
Mandatory vaccination and mask requirements do not apply to people with officially approved medical exemptions.
Infected staff and workplace contacts are required to isolate for 14 days, which could cause some businesses to close, but this measure is expected to ease soon.
Both Toodyay hotels reported downturns at the start of this month, and the bakery is now shut on Mondays due a staff shortage caused by workplace vaccination rules.
The new measures coincide with shortages of essential goods after floods cut interstate rail services until at least February 12.
IGA store owner Dean Carter said 30km of rail freight every week had been halted, causing retailers to switch to interstate trucking to maintain supplies.
“We use independent supply chains and have enough to get by if people don’t panic,” Mr Carter said.
Freemasons Hotel owner John Pearce said a minority of pub customers had objected to being required to show proof of vaccination.
The first week under new rules was “an education process”.
“Everyone needs to just suck it up and get on with it,” he said.
“Like everybody else, we’re just following the law because that’s what we are required to do.”
Local police say they will conduct random checks around the town ensure the new public health measures are being observed.
Toodyay District High School Principal David Ball said all Year 7 to 10 students are required to wear masks indoors unless they had a medical exemption.
Other students did not need to wear masks, and masks were not required outdoors.
All school staff are double vaccinated.
The State Government says people concerned that vaccination may affect their health can seek a medical exemption.
However, this does not apply “to an objection based on personal belief” or “vaccine hesitancy and related fears and anxiety”, for which health provider advice should be sought.