A Margaret River retailer has implemented a strict mask rule for all customers after multiple locations throughout the South West were added to the WA Health Department's list of potential COVID-19 exposure sites.
Margaret River Liquor Merchants manager Mark Wong informed customers via a Facebook post on January 1, saying recent arrests in the tourist town at the height of the summer holidays had forced him to take action to protect his staff.
"In lieu of the further breach, arrests in Margaret River and failing to comply with quarantine directives and being a close contact of the person involved in the outbreak in Perth and surrounds, Margaret River Liquor Merchants will now mandate a mask for all customers, local or not until further notice," he said.
Mr Wong said customers would also be required to sign in using the store's QR code or via a handwritten register.
"This may affect the business but as a small team, I can not put my team and customers at risk due to the selfish actions of others," he said.
"I'd rather lose one customer than lose thousands because I had to close for two weeks."
Many members of the local community were quick to voice their support for the move, while others said they would be likely to shop elsewhere in light of the mask requirements.
Mr Wong said he respected the decision of people who chose to shop elsewhere, and asked that people respected his decision to implement the rule.
"I too have been wearing a mask. People have asked why, as I live and work here.
"I reply because it's the people that are not doing the right thing.
"That mask in your purse doesn't help. That mask on your chin doesn't help. That mask hanging off one ear doesn't help.
"The complacency is running rife.
"The amount of people that walk in to any business without scanning the QR code or writing their details.
"The amount of people that look judgingly as I scan in then walk on by.
"I understand fully that COVID-19 will come to Margaret River but can we at least do our bit to control it?"
Mr Wong said the store would provide masks for those who did not have one, to allow them to enter the premises.