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COVID-19: Update for Local Government
17 January 2022

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Mask mandate reinstated in Perth and Peel
Yesterday, the Premier announced the reintroduction of mask requirements for Perth and Peel from 6pm, Sunday, 16 January 2022.
The COVID Restrictions (Gatherings and Related Measures) Directions (No 7)  requires masks to be worn in indoor spaces, such as Local Government facilities (e.g. offices, libraries and recreation centres), unless specific exemptions apply.

A person with a physical, developmental or mental illness, injury, condition or disability which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable is exempt. A person claiming the exemption must produce a medical certificate that certifies that they have an illness, injury or condition or disability that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable when requested to do so by a responsible person.   

The definition of responsible person in relation to particular premises means "the occupier or other person apparently in charge of those premises”.  

For example, a person entering a recreation centre or library is required to wear a mask and if claiming that they have a relevant condition which prevents them from doing so, would need to provide the person in charge of the centre (e.g. the Centre Manager) with a medical certificate if requested to do so.
The Directions are available here.
REMINDER: Sector Briefing – Preparing for Omicron
WALGA will host a webinar on Friday, 21 January focused on preparing for Omicron and Local Government business continuity and contingency planning. 
The webinar will include an update from the Department of Health and presentations from LGIS.

Date: Friday, 21 January
Time: 10:30am to 12 noon

Attendees are encouraged to submit questions to the COVID Response Team by 5:00pm, Wednesday, 19 January.
To register for the webinar, click here.
Council meetings and COVID-19
During a state of emergency, public health emergency or under a Direction, options are available for Local Governments to meet online rather than in person.
In March 2020, in response to COVID-19, the Government introduced the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 14C, 14D and 14E. These provisions apply to ordinary council meetings, special council meetings, committee meetings and audit committee meetings.  

A Local Government may determine to hold a meeting by electronic means (eMeeting) during a state of emergency, public health emergency or due to a Direction.

To do so, either the Mayor/President or Council can authorise an eMeeting if they consider this appropriate due to a public health emergency or state of emergency, or if a Direction prevents meetings being held in person – r.14D(2).Please note that Admin Regulation 14D(2)(b)(ii) permits the Mayor/President or Council to authorise, by a single authorisation, that more than one council meeting will be held by electronic means e.g. authorise that the March 2022 through to June 2022 council meetings will be held by electronic means.

If choosing to hold ordinary council meetings as eMeetings, the Local Government should give local public notice under r. 12(3) of the Local Government (Administration) Regulation to ensure the community is aware the meetings will not be held in-person. WALGA has had this advice confirmed by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
The Mayor/President or Council, in consultation with the Local Government CEO, can determine the means by which an eMeeting will be held – r.14D(3).

Admin Reg 14C introduced the option that permits individual Council Members to seek authorisation to attend electronically at an in-person Council meeting if “because of the public health emergency or state of emergency, the member is unable, or considers it inappropriate, to be present at an in person meeting” – r.14C(2)(b).

When conducting eMeetings, Local Governments are to observe modifications made to the Local Government Act under Regulation 14E relating to public question time, giving notice of meetings etc. WALGA developed the attached Electronic Council Meetings (eMeeting) Guideline to assist Local Governments meet the requirements for online meetings. 
Any questions on eMeetings can be directed to James McGovern, Manager Governance and Procurement at or 9213 2093.
Queries on Proof of Vaccine Requirements
WALGA has received a number of queries from Local Governments regarding the extension of proof of vaccination requirements.  
The vaccination requirement will apply State-wide from 31 January 2022, and includes hospitality venues, indoor entertainment centres, gyms, fitness centres and health studios.  

The Chief Health Officer’s advice is now available and provides the rationale for the expansion of these requirements State-wide, based on the experience in other areas of Australia.

WALGA has sought clarification from the Department of Health regarding the impact of the requirements on mixed use facilities, such as recreation centres and libraries which were not mentioned in the announcement.

To date, the Chief Health Officer's advice highlights “Pools, particularly those in outdoor areas and more remote communities, have other public health benefits, and should not be included in these requirements.” WALGA will continue to seek further clarification.
For further information, please email the COVID Response Team.
Planning Exemptions during state of emergency
Local Governments are reminded that planning exemptions applied since April 2020 to ensure supply and distribution of groceries and other essential items remain in place. More information on the exemptions can be found here.
The exemptions apply to various planning requirements, including exempting any restrictions imposed by Local Governments on loading or unloading times relating to the delivery of goods and/or petroleum products. For the exemption to apply, the matter must be confined to a premises with an existing approval to sell goods and/or petroleum products, and notice must be provided to the Local Government within 7 days of commencing the exempted activity.
For more information, please contact Policy Manager, Planning and Building Chris Hossen or call 9213 2056.
ONE70, LV1, 170 Railway Parade,
West Leederville, WA 6007
PO Box 1544, West Perth, WA 6872
Tel: (08) 9213 2000 | Fax: (08) 9213 2077
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