Particular Western Australian businesses and premises will be required to maintain mandatory contact registers for staff and patrons from Saturday, December 5 for the purpose of Department of Health COVID-19 contact tracing.
Records would only be used for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing, should it be required, and will only be kept for 28 days and not used for any other purpose.
This additional protection measure, in line with COVID safe principles, was considered as part of consultation with industry and business to look at how COVID Safety Plans can be updated and maintained in the longer term, given the ongoing impact of the virus internationally.
The measure is based on health advice and is a recommendation of the National Contact Tracing Review, presented by the Australian Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.
Businesses or venues required to keep a contact register include:
- food and licenced venues (restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, taverns, nightclubs);
- gyms, indoor sporting centres and pools;
- places of worship and funeral parlours;
- beauty and personal care services including hairdressers and barbers;
- galleries and museums;
- cinemas, theatres and other entertainment venues;
- auction houses and real estate inspections;
- community facilities, libraries and halls;
- zoos and amusement parks;
- function centres; and
- accommodation facilities that already have check-in arrangements in place (i.e. hostels, hotels, large camp grounds).
The State Government has released a free app, SafeWA, which will provide businesses with a digital COVID-19 contact register system, endorsed by the Department of Health.
SafeWA includes key features such as unique QR codes for venues which patrons can scan to register their attendance. Data will be encrypted at the point of capture, stored securely and only be accessible by authorised Department of Health contact tracing personnel, should COVID-19 contact tracing be necessary.
The app is being provided as a free, easy, contactless solution, but is not mandatory. Alternative formats for mandatory contact registers are available, including other electronic tools or a paper-based system, depending on what is suitable for the business, venue or individual.
The details required for the contact register will include the date, arrival time, names and telephone numbers.
Any person aged 16 years and over who attends a business, place or premises, listed above, including patrons, staff, volunteers and contractors will be required to register their contact details.
Records are not required to be collected for people collecting takeaway or children under 16 years.
The register records will only be required to be held for a 28-day period, and will only be used for necessary COVID-19 contact tracing, should the Department of Health require it, before it is disposed of in accordance with data privacy laws.
The McGowan Government conducted consultation with over 30 peak bodies and business and venue stakeholders to develop the system to support the mandating of contact registers, which will keep WA safe.
SafeWA can be downloaded from Apple App Store or Google Play Store from Wednesday, November 25, 2020. This will allow businesses and venues, which choose to use the SafeWA app, time to implement it for Saturday, December 5, 2020. More information can be found at https://www.wa.gov.au/SafeWA
Businesses must maintain a written contact register for people who choose not to use the app.
Failing to comply to the new requirements could result in fines and penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a body corporate or 12 months’ imprisonment.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“It’s because of the hard work of Western Australians that we have been able to get our State back on track and operate as close to normal as possible. What’s important now is that we stay the course and keep up COVID safe principles.
“Unfortunately COVID-19 is going to present a threat to our lives and livelihoods for some time, so it is important we have the systems in place to keep us safe in the longer term.
“As a Government, we are committed to making sure businesses can keep doing business in a COVID-safe way, no matter the impact of the virus around the world.”
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“We are seeing second and third waves and new lockdown measures in many countries around the world. This serves as a constant reminder that our COVID safe measures must be continually maintained and updated to ensure we protect Western Australia.
“The maintenance of contact registers is a whole-of-community effort and is so vital in the event of an outbreak, where contact tracing is required.
“While to date WA remains free of community transmission, we need to have processes in place in case it is required by our WA health and response teams.”
As stated by Small Business Minister Paul Papalia:
“The State Government has conducted consultation with a wide range of business and venue representatives around how WA will update and enhance its COVID safe measures in the longer term.
“Consultation has helped inform the development of these contact register measures, including the provision of a free app to make this process easy and consistent for businesses and the community.
“It is important individual businesses have the flexibility to choose the best format for them and their customers, within the required parameters, to ensure whatever system is in place is effective if required.
“This contact tracing system is a simple mechanism to help WA maintain its open, vibrant economy by keeping businesses operating at COVID-normal levels, in the face of the continued threat of COVID-19 around the world.”
Premier’s offcie – 6552 5000