City of Melbourne councillors will consider the introduction of a health pass system to safely reopen hospitality, arts and entertainment venues sooner and bring back the buzz.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said councillors will vote next week on advocating to the Victorian Government to become one of the first municipalities in the state to pilot the temporary scheme.
“The City of Melbourne has been doing everything it can to get more Victorians vaccinated because it’s the path to reopening our city,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The introduction of the proposed health pass would allow vaccinated and exempt Melburnians to enter participating restaurants, pubs, clubs and other venues. All staff at participating businesses will need be vaccinated to be part of the scheme.”
The scheme would operate until vaccination levels are sufficient to lift health restrictions.
“Nowhere in Australia has been hit harder by devastating lockdowns than Melbourne, and our businesses should be the first in line to reopen safely. They’re prepared to do whatever it takes,” the Lord Mayor said.
The Night Time Economy Advisory Committee (NTEAC), made up of leaders from the sector, is championing the pilot program, and calling on the Victorian Government to let them reopen sooner.
The Lord Mayor said the pilot could provide an opportunity to test, learn and gather feedback in order to refine the system for the whole of Victoria, while providing an extra incentive for eligible Victorians to get vaccinated.
City Activation portfolio lead, Councillor Roshena Campbell, said the time was right to explore options to safely reopen city businesses to protect livelihoods.
“Our city’s businesses have been crippled after six lockdowns and the earlier businesses can reopen, the quicker our city can recover,” Cr Campbell said.
“This is a temporary measure that will get our businesses back on their feet sooner while we continue to work towards vaccination targets.”
NTEAC Chair, James Young, said trialling a health pass system would minimise health risks and get businesses open safely, sooner.
“First and foremost, we want staff in our venues to be safe. We want patrons to be safe. We don’t want anything to jeopardise that safety,” Young said.
“An opt-in trial in the City of Melbourne is the perfect opportunity to identify and resolve issues in partnership with industry and Government.
“It would require streamlined technology and processes to minimise the compliance burden on businesses and venues of all sizes, and to ensure the system is rolled out quickly and effectively.”
Councillors will vote on whether they will advocate for the health pass at the Future Melbourne Committee on Tuesday 21 September.