‘We’re not the police’: Traders demand answers on how vaccine mandate will work

Queensland businesses are demanding more information from the Palaszczuk Government about the operation of the looming vaccine mandate for venues.

Dec 03, 2021, updated Dec 03, 2021
Small Business Commissioner Dominique Lamb (photo supplied)

Small Business Commissioner Dominique Lamb (photo supplied)

Business groups are urging the government to unveil more details about the new rules which come into force in two weeks.

The government will ban unvaccinated people from all venues in Queensland from December 17.

People who have not had two doses of a vaccine by then won’t be allowed to work in or enter restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, theatres, cinemas or sports stadiums from that date.

The government hasn’t released formal health directions on the mandate, with Health Minister Yvette D’Ath saying that will happen around December 10.

Businesses want to know how the mandate will be policed, how venues listed as exposure sites will be dealt with and the rights of business owners, staff and patrons under the restrictions.

National Retailers Association chief executive Dominique Lamb says Queensland retailers will comply but they don’t want to be expected to enforce the mandate.

“They need to give businesses support on the ground when it comes to enforcing those rules,” she said in a statement.

“Store owners are not the police.”

Ms Lamb said the government encouraging customers to be polite and respectful was good, but employees need training and support to deal with customers who are “aggressive and belligerent” about the mandate.

The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association of Australia called for an explanation of the rights of businesses, workers and patrons.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said the government should also reveal the next vaccine milestones for restrictions on businesses to ease or change.

CCIQ general manager Amanda Rohan said businesses only knew which restrictions would change on December 17, and nothing about what will happen beyond that date and into 2022.

“Businesses are desperate for details as to what happens after then,” Ms Rohan said.

“New vaccine in the workplace rules disproportionately impact small businesses so they need to know what’s next so they can confidently plan for the long-term recovery.”

Some 86.84 per cent of Queenslanders have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 77.21 per cent are fully vaccinated.

But authorities again urged those who are yet to be fully vaccinated to get the jab, saying a mystery Covid-19 case has been detected on the Gold Coast and may still be infectious in the community in Queensland.

And late on Friday, Queensland Health revealed that another case had been detected and contact tracing locations for Capalaba on the evening of Nov 29 at a Thai restaurant and at Capalaba Park Shopping Centre on the morning of November 30. No further information about the case was available.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said it was still unclear how the man who tested positive on the Gold Coast on Wednesday caught COVID-19.

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The case is genomically linked to clusters in NSW but not in Queensland and the man hasn’t travelled interstate recently.

“So we don’t know how he’s got COVID at this stage,” he told reporters.

“What it does mean is that we need everyone at Gold Coast to come forward and get tested, more important to get vaccinated.”

Ms D’Ath urged people to get tested as the person who passed on COVID-19 to the man could still be infectious in the community in Queensland:

“Someone has been on the Gold Coast, and may still be on the Gold Coast or elsewhere in Queensland, who is positive and hasn’t been identified as yet,” she told reporters.

D’Ath said Queensland was not planning to change travel rules for South Australia after 18 new local cases emerged in there on Thursday.

She said travellers should keep a close eye on the situation though, in case things change.

“We’re not making any changes at this point but we are watching it very, very closely,” she said.

“And we will await additional information throughout today on South Australia.”

Queensland recorded six new cases in home and hotel quarantine on Friday.


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