Western Australia (WA) Premier Mark McGowan announced at a presser on Jan. 13 some of the strictest measures in the nation against the vaccine-free, excluding them from bars, restaurants, health clubs, theaters, and in some cases, even hospitals.
Starting from Jan. 31, McGowan said, “We will be expanding proof of vaccination requirements for Visitors to Public and private hospitals and aged care facilities; all hospitality venues, including restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, clubs, taverns, nightclubs, and dining, fast food. Roadhouses, service stations, and take-away are exempt.”
But the list of exclusions continues, the premier said, adding, “Indoor entertainment venues, including play centers, gaming, and gambling; theaters, concert halls, museums, cinemas, and live music venues; bottle shops, the entire Crown Perth complex, major stations; gyms, fitness centers, and health studios, amusement parks, and the zoo, and music festivals and large events with more than 500 people, unless exempt.”
The ban on the vaccine free from attending hospitals and health clinics applies to those who want to visit relatives or dear ones even if the patients are on their deathbed.
Currently, the unvaccinated are already excluded from dining at cafes, pubs, and restaurants, while only those who can present a G2G pass upon entry are allowed.
The broadest proof of vaccination requirements
The dramatic move came in response to two newly recorded local cases of positive testing on the alleged Sars-CoV-2 virus and another 14 cases from inter-state travelers.
Already nearly 87 percent of Western Australians are double inoculated, while another 95 percent have received one. However, according to McGowan, it is still not enough.
At the press conference on Thursday, McGowan admonished “life will change significantly” for the vaccine free, who he feels need to be “protected from themselves, the Daily Mail reported.
“These will be the broadest proof of vaccination requirements in the nation, and they will not be removed any time soon,” the premier assured.
Freedom of Choice
McGowan stressed that those who object to getting vaccinated still have a choice not to. “If you choose to remain unvaccinated – and at this point, it certainly is your choice – you’re choosing to put yourself at risk, you’re choosing to put the people around you at risk, and you’re choosing to increase the burden on our health staff.”
“We know that those in hospitals around the country are mainly unvaccinated people,” McGowan added, without substantiating the claim.
“If you don’t get vaccinated, the message is clear,” he said, adding that, “We will not let you put others at risk.”
While the other states in Australia seem to be slowly opening up after almost two years of COVID-19 measures, WA has slammed its doors shut for Australian nationals from other states, which are deemed extreme COVID-19 risk states.
The rule also states that citizens of WA are no longer able to return home after they’ve visited other states in Australia.
Business as usual
ABC News found that most business owners were more or less okay with the new regulations.
“Given that over 92 percent of the adult population of Western Australia has already been vaccinated, we don’t believe it will have too much of an impact,” Bradley Woods, Australian Hotels Association WA CEO, told the outlet.
Tyson and Sally, a couple that runs a gym in Perth, said they felt sorry for the non-compliant minority being discriminated against but also indicated they will continue to do business as usual.
“We’re really quite saddened by the segregation and the discrimination that we’re forced to take part in from this mandate that’s happening right now,” Sally said.
“Yes, it’s going to be difficult for our business but that’s our difficulty,” she added. “To the general public we have been creating an area of inclusivity, we’ve been creating beautiful communities in our gyms,” she said, adding, “We’ve welcomed everybody up until now, and we wanted to keep welcoming everyone and we’re suddenly in a place where we can’t do that.”
Meanwhile, people lined up by the hundreds at vaccination sites in fear that they would miss out on all the privileges that only the vaccinated will be able to enjoy from Jan. 31 on.
The outlet also interviewed several GP clinics all over Perth and heard the same story in unison about them being flooded with booking requests.
Meanwhile, at the larger state-run vaccination clinics, people were lining up waiting for up to three hours, the outlet reported.