EDITORIAL: How we can support our beleaguered hospitality industry

Headshot of Liam Croy
Liam CroyAlbany Advertiser
Proof of vaccination rules will come into effect on January 31.
Camera IconProof of vaccination rules will come into effect on January 31. Credit: Adermark Media/Getty Images

Albany’s hospitality industry has been grappling with staff shortages since COVID-19 dug its claws into Australia.

It is an issue the Advertiser has reported on frequently — and it is one that will be familiar to most people living in this city, even if they don’t read the newspaper.

Our cafes and bars have been through the wringer over the past two years, hit by all manner of restrictions, including closures in the early days of the pandemic in 2020.

Now, with staffing shortages already at crisis point and WA’s border reopening indefinitely delayed, these venues face another massive challenge in the form of WA’s COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination rules.

From Monday, anyone over 16 will need to prove they are double-jabbed to enter all hospitality venues, entertainment precincts, fitness centres, bottle shops and events with more than 500 attendees.

Since these rules were announced, the local industry has been scrambling to figure out how it is supposed to police them.

The Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted forums last week for businesses to workshop strategies to deal with the mandates.

The ACCI’s new chief executive Lisa Smith called for more clarity and “concrete information” from the State Government

“Along with apparent operational queries, there are also many ethical issues that local businesses are seeking clarity on,” Ms Smith said last week.

Over the past two years, these venues have proved their ability to adapt.

But hot on the heels of a hectic holiday season, they will have their work cut out trying to manage WA’s proof-of-vaccination rules.

Throw the extended mask mandate into the mix and this next phase of the pandemic is shaping up as a very difficult one for our hospitality businesses.

The best way we can support them is by being patient, understanding and kind.

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