Masks off and back to business

It’s back to normal and CCIWA, along with the WA business community, welcomes the State Government’s decision to further ease COVID-19 restrictions from this Friday, April 29.

Editor’s note: this article was updated on April 28 with new information on workplace mandatory vaccination.

This is a major step forward, and it will put WA businesses in the box seat to lead and cement our economic recovery.

Masks off

Masks will no longer be compulsory in everyday business settings, which will ease constraints on workers attending work in-person, and patronage in retail precincts and commercial centres.

The 2-square-metre rule, the G2G travel requirement, and the burden upon businesses to police the vaccination status of patrons and customers — all of these have been abolished from Friday, in a major fillip for events and hospitality businesses.

CCIWA Principal Workplace Relations Adviser Paul Moss said businesses should be aware that many customers will, of course, wish to continue to wear masks and they are welcome to do so. Employers may, however, still establish their own requirements for their workers

“Individual businesses will need to consider their own circumstances,” Moss said, “but what employers really need to pay attention to is their responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure a safe workplace for both staff and their workers.”

“While the reduction to the public health directions are based on the general risk to the community, businesses need to determine what approach is right for their workplace from a work health and safety perspective.”

Read more: CCIWA’s COVID-19 support information

The national approach

Close contact rules will reflect the national approach, enabling those who do not have COVID to continue to participate in the workforce.

As CCIWA has long argued — and as our members have consistently told us — this is critical at a time of continued worker shortages.

  • From 12:01am Friday, April 29, public health and social measures will ease.
  • Masks are encouraged but are no longer mandatory except in specific settings.
  • The 2-square-metre rule and proof of vaccination requirements are removed for venues.
  • Asymptomatic close contacts will no longer need to isolate, subject to strict protocols.
  • Changes for domestic and international arrivals into WA.
  • Mandatory workplace vaccination requirements will remain.

Premier Mark McGowan has said the vaccine mandate covering more than 1 million workers in WA will remain until the third dose vaccination rate reaches “way over 80 per cent”.

“The mandates in the workforce are for three dose vaccination. It’s very high, but it’s still not yet at 80 per cent, so we still want to get that third dose vaccination up over 80 percent — way over 80 per cent,” he told The West Australian.

The Premier said the final deadline for the vaccine mandate — which he credited as one of the main reasons for WA’s low hospitalisation and death rate — takes effect from the end of the May, so the jab requirement would stay “for the foreseeable future”.

The Government says COVID Safety Plans, COVID Event Checklist and COVID Event Plans will no longer be mandatory, but are encouraged.

CCIWA will hold webinars for members on this issue in the near future.

Our COVID-19 site has up-to-date information about the pandemic’s impacts on WA business. Our Employee Relations Advice Centre is also available to respond to your questions on (08) 9365 7660, or via advice@cciwa.com.

For more information on the latest changes to WA’s COVID-19 approach, visit www.wa.gov.au.

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