Closures, vaccine mandates: How Murraylands businesses are managing COVID-19 risk
With South Australia's borders open, the pandemic has entered a new phase. Tailem Bend Community Centre is being extra cautious.
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Caution is the flavour of the month around the Murraylands as the COVID-19 pandemic enters a new phase.
No new exposure sites have yet been reported in the region since South Australia’s borders reopened last Tuesday, but at Tailem Bend Community Centre – among other places – they’re not taking any chances.
The centre announced last Friday that it would close, effective immediately, until January 17.
It would usually be closed over Christmas anyway, coordinator Tammy Shepherd said.
But given how often Tailem Bend had been exposed to travellers with the coronavirus even with the borders shut – four times between July and October – she did not want to risk her clients’ health.
“We felt it was in our best interests to mitigate the risk,” she said.
“We’ve got 200 people a week coming through our doors.”
The centre’s medical transport service would continue, she said, but face-to-face classes and Communities for Children programs would be cancelled.
Staff would spend some of their time phoning regular clients to make sure everyone was doing alright, Ms Shepherd said.
She said most had been understanding about the decision.
“There’s certainly a demographic of people who are struggling with this,” she said.
“We’ve had some really, really tough conversations with people.
“But we have a duty of care.”
Get help from Tailem Bend Community Centre: 8572 3513.
Zoo, racing club introduce double-vax mandate
The community centre is not the only local organisation to change its rules in connection with the border reopening.
Zoos SA announced on November 18 that visitors eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 would need to show that they were fully vaccinated, or had a medical exemption, to gain entry to Monarto Safari Park from December 1.
The organisation will reassess the policy on January 31.
Racing SA announced on Friday that it would require all eligible visitors to its venues, including Murray Bridge Racing Club, to have had at least one dose of vaccine from December 20.
Double vaccination will be required from January 22.
Local vaccination rate is still low, but climbing
Meanwhile, the Murraylands’ relatively low COVID-19 vaccination rate – one of the reasons for all the extra caution – is still climbing slowly.
Almost 70 per cent of people aged 15 and over were fully vaccinated in the Murray Bridge district by Sunday, according to the latest data from the Department of Health.
Almost 80 per cent had received at least one dose of vaccine.
The numbers for the Coorong were 75.6% fully and 85.6% partly vaccinated.
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