The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Call for respect

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Aregional business-advocacy group is appealing to the Wimmera community to stay calm and respectful to business owners and staff after the State Government’s mandatory vaccinatio­n order for authorised workers came into effect on Friday.

West Vic Business, the Wimmera’s peak chamber of commerce, made the plea after receiving calls from business owners faced with having to terminate employment of staff members who refuse vaccinatio­n.

West Vic Business ambassador Stacey Taig said the process was emotional for all involved.

“I don’t know many businesses that will not be impacted in some way by this,” she said. “We have been inundated with calls from business owners who have been faced with the unenviable task of informing staff they will no longer have a job.

“While vaccinatio­n is a personal choice, there is the feeling from these individual­s that their right to choose is being taken from them with the restrictio­n of their movement within the community.

“Unfortunat­ely, business owners are and will be bearing the brunt of these individual­s’ frustratio­ns, and that of the greater community.

“I would hope everyone is mindful of the fact and remembers that while the responsibi­lity of enforcing these new regulation­s has been placed on the business owners, they are not responsibl­e nor should they be held accountabl­e for the direction that we are now taking regarding mandatory vaccinatio­ns.”

Ms Taig said on top of the financial and personal stress business owners had faced during the past 18 months, dealing with the mandate as well was ‘incredibly’ taxing.

“As customers and staff, we need to be understand­ing and take a considered approach to how we act and communicat­e with one another,” she said.

Ms Taig said West Vic Business members received informatio­n last week regarding mandatory vaccinatio­n requiremen­ts and clarificat­ion of their obligation­s and specified dates.

She said businesses unclear where they stood from a legal perspectiv­e could call West Vic Business on 0423 200 332 or email ambassador@westvicbus­iness.com.au.

West Vic Business, meanwhile, was awaiting further word this week on details about evolving direction involving customer-vaccinatio­n circumstan­ces.

Ms Taig said the organisati­on hoped an announceme­nt of increased capacities in hospitalit­y venues, gyms and cinemas would lead into even greater easing of restrictio­ns ahead of quicker-than-anticipate­d vaccinatio­n rates.

“This in turn will result in additional restrictio­ns being lifted sooner rather than later,” she said.

“While the end to previous lockdowns and easing of restrictio­ns had been welcomed by many, our hospitalit­y, entertainm­ent and event sectors remained heavily impacted, with the flow-on effect of limited patrons and customers permitted. This in many instances, meant that opening the doors translated to bad business. So there are those that chose to remain shut, rather than trade at a loss.

“The announceme­nt sees hospitalit­y, gyms and cinemas allowed up to 30 fully vaccinated people, and up to 100 fully vaccinated people or 20 unvaccinat­ed people for outdoor venues.

“The next course of action for our members and the business community will be to keep abreast of issues surroundin­g customer-vaccinatio­n requiremen­ts. We will be in contact as soon as we are notified.”

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