Venues vexed by rules
TOWNSVILLE pub and cafe owners have called for clear directions on how restrictions will be applied to refuse service to people who are unvaccinated for Covid-19.
The state government threatens density restrictions on businesses who want to serve the unvaccinated and a survey finds many Townsville employers do not want to force their staff to be vaccinated.
“If they were really serious, they would mandate it. But they don’t want their name attached to a mandate. They are putting it on us and that’s totally unfair,” Strand C Bar owner Allen Pike said.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles flagged the restrictions when the government’s map to open Queensland’s borders to vaccinated domestic travellers was released this week.
A date of at least December 17 has been set, although it might be sooner if a target of 80 per cent of the population over the age of 16 being vaccinated has been reached.
Mr Miles said certain “freedoms” would only be available to vaccinated people when the target was reached.
The government’s map says further details on the restrictions are to be confirmed but that venues and events that allow unvaccinated people may continue to be subject to restrictions, such as capacity and density limits.
When asked about the issue in Townsville on Wednesday, Premier
Annastacia Palaszczuk said businesses would “make up their own minds”.
“It’s very clear that when we come to 80 per cent vaccinated and people coming into Queensland, (businesses) will make up their own minds about what they want to do to protect their customers,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Molly Malones venue manager and Townsville Safe Night Precinct president Colin Leake said he would stick to “whatever the government tells us” but questioned how the restrictions would be applied.
“Our concern as licensees is who is going to police that,” Mr Leake said.
Heritage Exchange owner Emmanuel Bogiatzis said he could not see refusing access to the unvaccinated because could not afford to cut a battered customer base.
Business advisers PVW Partners has surveyed Townsville business owners and managers on whether they should have the ability to make vaccination compulsory for employees, finding some 59.7 per cent agreed and 40.3 per cent disagreed.
PVW managing partner Carl Valentine said employers would like to see their employees vaccinated but did not want to be the ones forcing it on them.
“There should be some clear guidelines that business can rely on,” Mr Valentine said.
He said it was his “firm view” that Covid-19 was coming and that “we all need to be vaccinated to be prepared for it”.