COUNCILLORS, guests and staff have been able to enjoy dine-in meals together at council civic centres without having to provide proof of vaccination.
While the rest of WA has been forced to fumble with phones to prove their vaccination status before sitting down in a cafe or restaurant, the Herald has confirmed that a “loophole” in the McGowan government’s restrictions means this hasn’t applied to council dining rooms or lounges.
“At the moment elected members are not required to show proof of vaccination at pre-council meeting briefings where dinner is served, although they are encouraged to do so,” Cockburn council governance executive Emma Milne told the Herald.
“This is in keeping with the state government direction. If the state enters a lockdown this will change.”
Fremantle council was a little more vague, with its PR department saying: “We do not request to see elected members’ vaccination certificates before they eat. We follow the requirements outlined by the state government for entry to the building/meeting,” before acknowledging that doesn’t require any proof of vaccination.
We were initially tipped off by a Stirling council ratepayer, who said no vaccine checks were being carried out at Stirling council’s dining room, where councillors and staff were gathering for a meal and refreshments on meeting nights.
“From an outsider looking in they should be follow the rules just like everyone else considering state Parliament requires this of all politicians. This definitely would not stand up to public scrutiny,” our tipster said.
Stirling mayor Mark Irwin, said they’ve stuck to all state government health mandates including requesting proof of vaccination and mask mandates at council facilities. But the civic centre’s exempt.
“In relation to the city’s civic centre, there is no requirement for the city to request proof of vaccination from members of the public, employees or elected members,” Mr Irwin said.
“The requirement to request proof of vaccination at venues providing food and beverages applies when food and beverages are being sold and consumed on premise. The City does not sell food and beverage at its civic centre, therefore checking vaccination status is not required under the state government’s proof of vaccination requirements.”
It’s the same story at Vincent council’s function room, although mayor Emma Cole adds “all Vincent council members were triple vaccinated.
by DAVID BELL and STEVE GRANT