Western Australia’s government won’t ease coronavirus restrictions on ANZAC Day services despite some local events being cancelled.
Several RSL branches have been forced to cancel their services because of the additional logistical requirements and costs associated with hosting crowds during the pandemic.
Opposition health spokeswoman Libby Mettam questioned the need for the restrictions at a time when Optus Stadium was able to host up to 60,000 people, albeit for ticketed events.
“These commemorative services are an integral and sacred day of reflection for the whole community,” she said.
“We can’t simply have a situation where they are no longer going ahead in any capacity because it is so complex and these groups can’t afford it.”
Premier Mark McGowan says there’s a need to keep some restrictions in place.
“We are still in a world that has COVID and we do need to follow the medical advice,” he had told reporters on Tuesday. “And that medical advice is clear there needs to be some rules around it.”
The premier stood firm when he was pressed about it again on Wednesday.
“[The Chief health Officer] was of the view, and he was very specific, that we had to have COVID-safe ANZAC services, and that’s what’s been put in place,” he reiterated.
“We work cooperatively with RSLWA to allow for ANZAC Day to occur, there are many countries where they can’t occur.”
Up to 10,000 people will gather at Kings Park for a ticketed dawn service, with attendees encouraged to wear face masks.
It will be followed by a gunfire breakfast at Government House, a march through the CBD and commemorative service at Perth Concert Hall.
RSLWA chief executive John McCourt last month acknowledged it was likely some regional and community sub-branches would find it too difficult to put on their own services under COVID restrictions.
WA recorded three new cases in hotel quarantine overnight, leaving the state with 27 active cases.
A public health order making it mandatory for hotel quarantine workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will come into effect from May 10.
“People working in hotel quarantine are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, so if they have any concern about any of the vaccines they can choose which one they want,” Mr McGowan said.
“I’d urge those people working in hotel quarantine – many of whom have had a big pay increase because we stopped (allowing) secondary employment – to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”