City of Melbourne councillors will vote next week on the introduction of a vaccine passport to enable the safe reopening of hospitality, arts and entertainment venues in the Victorian capital.
The temporary scheme, which would allow vaccinated Melburnians to enter venues as soon as possible, would make the city one of the first municipalities in the state to go down the route of a vaccine passport.
“The City of Melbourne has been doing everything it can to get more Victorians vaccinated because it’s the path to reopening our city,” City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp 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 to 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 pilot program is being championed by the Night Time Economy Advisory Committee (NTEAC) who are calling on the Victorian Government to let venues such as pubs, clubs and other venues reopen sooner.
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,” 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.
Updated at 10.00am AEST on 17 September 2021.
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