Australian pubs and cafes want power to refuse unvaccinated customers, support mandatory vaccines for employees

A staggering amount of hospitality employers say they’d support state and territory government leaders on imposing mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for employees.

A poll conducted by Restaurant and Catering Australia found 63 per cent of pub, restaurant and cafe owners – or two-thirds of all participants – want the authority to make getting the jab a requirement for working in the industry.

As one of the hardest hit industries amid the pandemic, with ongoing lockdowns forcing establishments to open and close, business owners said they would also welcome ‘vaccine passports’ and turn away customers who haven’t had the jab.

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A new poll indicates strong support for the hospitality industry to mandate vaccines for workers. Picture: Bianca De Marchi/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

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Almost 55 per cent of the business owner participants in the poll said they would welcome the right to turn away unvaccinated patrons, with the hope the move would lower the chance of both employees and guests from unknowingly spreading Covid-19.

Appearing to the ABC, Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lambert said, “If the government can provide doctors with indemnity, why can’t they do the same for businesses?”

“Their businesses are in desperate situations,” he said.

“They just want their businesses to be open.

“They cannot survive with all these stop-start, stop-start, sawtooth lockdowns up and down, especially as we expect that it will take until the end of the year, if not possibly early 2022 before we reach that magic 80 per cent.”

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, restaurants, cafes and caterers employ about 350,000 people nationwide, with Victoria employing 30 per cent of the country’s hospitality staff.

“Whatever we can do to support our businesses to open in a safe environment, we as an industry, we would do everything,” Duncan Thompson, chief executive of Collective Heads, told the publication.

The polling came as New South Wales recorded another surge in daily coronavirus infections with a staggering 344 new infections reported on Wednesday, including two deaths. On Tuesday, the state recorded its worst case number to date – with 356 cases reported to 8pm on Monday evening.

With infections remaining stubbornly high, the Committee for Sydney is urging Premier Gladys Berejiklian to enforce vaccine passports to ensure the community can open up safely.

“In this new phase of the pandemic, people may have the right not to be vaccinated, but they shouldn’t have the right to put others in danger,” deputy chief executive Ehssan Veiszadeh said in a statement.

“There is no reason why vaccine passports shouldn’t start being used now across industries that are already open, such as in retail settings and essential workplaces.”

But while the concept of vaccine passports is popular with some, others say it presents a moral and ethical dilemma.

The poll also indicated many employers in the hospitality industry would support a vaccine passport for patrons. Picture: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFPSource:AFP

While many see it as the only way towards a proper reopening, detractors say it will unfairly punish some members of society who, for various reasons, choose not to be vaccinated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Australia is headed down the path of depriving those unvaccinated against Covid-19 of certain liberties afforded to the vaccinated population – much like what is now the case in France.

“If you get vaccinated, there will be special rules that’ll apply to you,” he said.

“Why? Because if you’re vaccinated, you present less of a public health risk. You are less likely to get the virus. You are less likely to transmit it. ”You are less likely to get a serious illness and be hospitalised, and you are less likely to die.”

Currently in NSW, construction workers from Sydney’s eight worst-hit local government areas can now return to unoccupied worksites providing they are vaccinated.

Construction workers from the locked down LGA’s, such as Fairfield or Canterbury-Bankstown, now need to show proof they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine or one dose at least three weeks before attending work.

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