Mark McGowan has called a press conference for 2.15pm after scores of people across Perth were alerted they were contacts of a COVID-19 case who was nightclubbing in Northbridge over the weekend.
Perth Mess Hall on Francis Street confirmed its staff had received messages from WA Health informing them they must isolate and get tested after a COVID case attended on Sunday evening.
Neither WA Health or the State Government has confirmed the case but text message alerts were also sent to attendees of the Geisha Bar and Connections Nightclub.
The SMS states that they must “immediately isolate from others in your home” and get tested at a COVID clinic while wearing a face mask.
“Continue to isolate until a negative result is returned, unless instructed otherwise by WA Health,” the message reads.
Geisha Bar’s social media channels confirmed the James Street venue was an exposure site after a case attended in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“Hi everyone, we’ve been contacted by WA health and we’ve been informed that Geisha Bar was an exposure site on Saturday night/Sunday morning between the hours of 12am-3am,” the post said.
“We are working with WA Health to provide all contact registers and we are waiting on further instructions.”
Geisha Bar owner Craig Shorthill, who is stuck in Melbourne, said there would have been about 350 to 400 customers at his venue at the same time as the COVID case, as well as 15 staff.
“One of the managers found out from the Health Department after the text messages were sent out,” Mr Shorthill said.
“We got very little information from the Health Department, all we were told was that anyone who was there between 12am and 3am on Sunday morning needs to get tested.
“We’ve been told by the Health Department we’re Ok to trade tomorrow night, which shocks the hell out of me.
“They said as long as we’ve got staff that test negative we’re welcome to trade Friday night, but we’ve chosen to close down and do a three-day deep clean and not open Christmas Eve.”
There was no answer on Connections’ landline number but it is understood the case was at the James Street nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning.
If the nightclubber at the centre of the COVID scare had the virus on Friday, it means they have potentially been infectious in the community for seven days.
The West Australian understands that Thursday’s latest COVID scare relates to at least two positive cases linked to a man and a woman who recently arrived in WA from interstate.
When they arrived and where exactly they arrived from remains unclear at this stage. Extra police officers are already being seconded into the dedicated COVID response team – Operation Tide – to deal with the unfolding crisis.
WA has not had cases of community transmission since June. The State’s border is due to reopen to the rest of Australia on February 5.
On Wednesday, Mark McGowan said for the first time that he would not lockdown Perth if COVID cases were detected before February 5.
Instead, he said the Government would consider imposing other restrictions to slow any outbreak, such as face masks in indoor venues.
“In terms of a lockdown for Perth, Peel or the South West, no, that’s not part of our planning, but if we do have an outbreak before February 5, obviously we’d put in place public health social measures,” the Premier said.
“So it may well be mask wearing, it may well be restrictions on venues or it may well be measures around the unvaxxed whereby they can’t go to certain places like restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, those sorts of things are all on the table.”