Kyabram Free Press

Mandatory vaccinatio­ns essential, says Curtis

- By Zac Standish

Opinions on the Victorian Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic are vast, and varying, but for Kyabram businessma­n Vince Curtis the latest move has been given the thumbs up.

Mr Curtis, owner of Bakers Delight in Kyabram, said the Premier and his government had shown courage in making the decision to implement compulsory vaccinatio­ns for essential workers.

Businesses across Victoria will need to show proof their staff members have had at least one jab by October 15 and a second by November 26 to continue working in any essential worker role.

Victoria expects to his 70 per cent double dose by October 23 and 80 per cent by November 5, which will signify an end to harsh lockdown restrictio­ns and greater freedom for the entire community.

Mr Curtis said the move was a logical step forward to encourage as many people as possible to receive the jab.

“I can see why they are doing it because at the moment it seems like lockdowns have not been successful in stopping the spread of COVID, and vaccinatio­ns seem to work,” Mr Curtis said.

“I was a little bit surprised though, because I didn’t think the government had that steely reserve.

“I suppose they have had plenty of practice with lockdowns and I think this is the right thing to do.

“I see it as a bit of an incentive, so we can stop wearing these masks and stop the lockdowns — different people have different opinions about vaccinatio­ns and everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I understand the rationale behind this new measure.”

As for his own business, which employs a lot of younger casual staff, Mr Curtis said he had experience­d no problems in getting everybody on board and was impressed to see employees get on the front foot when it came to vaccinatio­ns.

“We will be absolutely good as gold come October 15 — we have spoken to all of our staff and long before there was any talk of mandatory vaccinatio­ns the vast majority of them had already begun the process,” he said.

“It was impressive to see with our younger staff that we didn’t need to give them any encouragem­ent, they were right on the front foot in getting it done.

“Having said that if they were reluctant, Bakers Delight as a franchise has made it abundantly clear that it is compulsory and if you aren’t vaccinated then you can’t work.”

In terms of the impact the pandemic had had on his business over the past 12 months, Curtis said he had been one of the lucky few that had thrived through what had been a challengin­g period.

“Sales-wise we are one of the very lucky ones where we have always been an essential service, and despite closing for two days after being hit with an exposure visit, we have always been open and because people haven’t been going anywhere sales have been very good,” he said.

“The biggest challenge we have had and are still having is trying to find staff. We have got a very good group of staff at the moment but it is just that last one or two members of the team that we are struggling to fill.

“Over 12 months we have had probably 13 applicatio­ns that we have tried to put on and I think five of them pulled the pin before they even started and the other seven didn’t last much longer than a week, so that has been quite difficult.”

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