Council facilities soon off limits to those not fully vaccinated

Council facilities will soon be off limits to people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These include council offices, libraries, Gippsland Regional Livestock Exchange, The Wedge Performing Arts Centre, Gippsland Regional Sports Centre, Aqua Energy, outdoor pools, airports, the Port of Sale precinct and community facilities such as halls and sporting facilities.

Wellington Shire Council will only be able to allow people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 into its buildings within days.

This is at the direction of the state government, and will apply once the 80 per cent target is reached — predicted to be next Friday, October 29.

This means everyone over the age of 16 will need to have received two COVID-19 vaccinations to enter council buildings.

The facilities include council offices, libraries, Gippsland Regional Livestock Exchange, The Wedge Performing Arts Centre, Gippsland Regional Sports Centre, Aqua Energy, outdoor pools, airports, the Port of Sale precinct and community facilities such as halls and sporting facilities.

All people entering council facilities will be required to show one of the following upon request:

• Their vaccination status through the Victorian Government Service Victoria app on their smartphone (available through the Apple App Store or Google Play);

• A printout of their vaccination certificate; or

• An official letter from their doctor showing evidence of a medical exemption.

Once the 80 per cent state-wide target is reached, people who can’t produce one of the above will be unable to access council facilities.

Wellington Shire Council mayor Cr Garry Stephens said Wellington residents had done “an amazing job so far in responding to the need to protect the community”, with 94 per cent of eligible people receiving their first vaccination and 70.9 per cent of eligible people receiving both vaccinations.

“Council has an obligation to provide a safe workplace for our staff and a safe environment for our community,” he said.

“We have made this decision not only in order to follow the advice of the Victorian Government and the Chief Health Officer, but also because it is the right thing to do to keep our community safe.

“We all want to get back doing the things we love – whether that be working on site, enjoying a meal out, playing a sport, taking in some entertainment, travelling freely or just catching up with friends and family we have missed so much.

“These measures are here to protect the community and allow us to get back to doing those things.

“I acknowledge this will not please everyone, but it’s important that we all show patience, kindness and respect toward council staff and volunteer facility managers.

“Any behaviour that does not reflect this, will not be tolerated.”

Vaccinations are available at various private and state-run clinics, along with pharmacies, including Wellington Respiratory Clinic in Sale, Gippsland Regional Sports Complex in Sale and GP clinics in Sale, Stratford, Maffra and Heyfield.

More information about the changes be found at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/vax