29/01/2021 - 10:30

More venues to require contact tracing registers

29/01/2021 - 10:30

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Customers will have to check-in at the supermarket and takeaway outlets from February 12 after the state government expanded the mandatory contact tracing rules.

More venues to require contact tracing registers
Mark McGowan (right) and Roger Cook said the expansion of the rules followed a review of WA’s contact register system. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Customers will have to check-in at the supermarket and takeaway outlets from February 12 after the state government expanded the mandatory contact tracing rules.

Retail venues, commercial buses or boats, public and private hospitals, takeaway food and beverage services and events with more than 500 patrons will be required to maintain contact registers.

People will have to leave their details on a physical register at the venue or check-in through the SafeWA mobile app. 

The new guidelines will also require businesses already using their own QR code for registration to also display the government’s SafeWA QR code.

The state government is encouraging public transport users to register their SmartRider card to ensure contact details are available and to tag on and off in the free transit bus zone. 

It said the expansion of the rules followed a review of Western Australia’s contact register system.

The review found substantial outbreaks of COVID-19 cases in other states were linked to retail outlets and takeaway venues.

It said under the current rules, hospital visitors can attend unannounced and anonymously, making contact tracing difficult.

Premier Mark McGowan said when contact registers were implemented in WA in December last year, the government said regular reviews would be undertaken and new measures would be introduced as needed.

"So far West Aussies have done an incredible job in adapting to those changes but we now need to strengthen them, especially in the face of the evolving nature of the virus overseas,” he said.

"While WA remains free of community transmission, we continue to learn from what's occurring over east and overseas. With variant strains becoming more prevalent, we need to bolster our processes in case contact tracing is required by our WA health and response teams."

Health Minister Roger Cook said using the SafeWA app was the easiest and safest way for venues to collect contact tracing information to protect patrons.

"Cases of the highly infectious strain of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine across Australia highlight how important it is that we continue reviewing and improving WA's COVID-safe and precautionary procedures,” he said.

More than 1.1 million Western Australians and 32,000 businesses have already downloaded SafeWA, and there have been more than 20 million check-ins with the app since its launch last month.

Failing to comply with these new requirements could result in penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a body corporate, or 12 months' imprisonment.

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