Today marks the first day of businesses in Mandurah requiring double-dose vaccination certificates to allow patrons into their venues.
Businesses have been left to sort through the pieces of information provided by the government on what they are required to do, in relation to asking for vaccination certificates and what to do if they offer both take-away and dine-in services.
The owner of one Mandurah foreshore cafe, who didn't want to be named, said, "there is no policy on how to ask for vaccines. One policy says you can't enter a building, another says you can for take-away."
David Hill, owner of the Tree of Life Cafe in Mandurah, said, "we've been left on our own. We went through all the notes and hopefully we're doing the right thing.
"A couple ladies a week ago had quite a lengthy discussion with my wife and son who both work here, trying to say that we can do it [asking for proof of vaccination] in other ways, as other cafes are putting things online for which cafes are and aren't [asking for vaccinations]. I just can't afford the $50,000 fine," David said.
DPM Cafe on the foreshore have moved to takeaway service only in light of the new requirements, with other cafes in the area following suit to accommodate as many people as possible.
Owner of Mataya Eatery, Natalie Adams, added that there has been "no help, unless you read Facebook, we know as much as you."
Commenting on how the first day of service with requiring proof of vaccinations went, Ms Adams said, "our customers have all followed the rules. We're lucky we have a very strong customer base and lots of regulars who know the rules. We've done staff training, working through all the scenarios of what might happen, how to handle things, it's hard when you've got a young team," she said.
Mataya Eatery, like many others, have opened their alfresco courtyard up for everyone.
"It's takeaway only, but if someone wants to sit at a table with a takeaway coffee, sure. We can't do dine-in service out there. It's a chance for people to still come out and make as much of a normal lifestyle as possible."
"I have no idea how it will impact bottom line. The weather's still good which encourages people to get takeaways, go out and enjoy outside, but I don't know how long rules will be here for," Ms Adams said.
A media statement from the WA government on January 13 said, "venues, staff and patrons will have a shared responsibility when it comes to proof of vaccination, with venues required to take reasonable steps to ensure all patrons are double dose vaccinated, or exempt."
Beyond this, businesses say they have been offered little other information to help navigate these tricky waters.
Shadow Small Business Minister Dr Steve Thomas attacked the McGowan government said "businesses across the state face COVID D-days both today and tomorrow as the next stage of the Government's vaccine mandates kick in, with business left to manage the cost and issues of compliance."
"This lack of management is compounding the lack of clarity and certainty business is already struggling with as the Government flip flops on the rules and trickles out changes at the Premier's whim. While big business might be able to opt out of the state and go east, small businesses have no choice but to stay and try to navigate the Government's rules."
General Manager of the Peel Chamber of Commerce, Andrew McKerrell, shared the same sentiment as local businesses.
"I agree with them 100%. The overarching majority of small businesses I am talking to are scared of being fined for doing the wrong thing, however the current information on what constitutes 'doing the right thing' is incredibly vague, they are guidelines with no details and business needs details in order to operate successfully.
"Addressing this issue with Government has been a main focus for me so far this year, and sourcing not only credible, but guidance and information that is actually understandable for businesses owners who are already under the pump is proving to be difficult. The Chamber is currently finalising a resource to help businesses who have been identified as an exposure site, explaining what to do to get back to business, as this information also doesn't exist in one place," Mr McKerrell said.
According to the Western Australia Department of Health, from today, the following venues will require proof of vaccination:
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA provides some resources to help businesses understand and navigate these new rules. Click here to learn more: https://cciwa.com/covid-19-support/covid-19-additional-resources/ .
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