Gippsland hospitality businesses already stretched and hurting with the Andrews Labor Government’s brutal restrictions have been thrown into chaos with a last-minute announcement that staff will need to be double-vaccinated by Friday 22 October.
The Andrews Government’s roadmap and vaccine mandate clearly states authorised workers must have their first vaccination by October 15 – or be booked to receive it by October 22 – and be fully vaccinated by November 26.
The Department of Justice and Community Safety advised industry bodies on Tuesday that this remained the case, however the Premier backflipped, announcing hospitality staff would not be permitted to work unless they were fully vaccinated by Friday 22 October.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said the move had created enormous turmoil, and she is calling on the Andrews Government to urgently reinstate the original timeline for hospitality workers.
“Businesses owners face an unenviable decision of moving to the 70 per cent increase patron limits or standing down employees,” said Ms Bath.
“To give employers and employees a mere 48 hours’ notice to be fully vaccinated shows absolute arrogance and contempt for the hospitality industry.
“The Premier’s decision for hospitality workers is devoid of empathy and understanding of the widespread consequences on small business operations and employees ability to work.”
Ms Bath said the Andrews Government has had 20 months to plan Victoria’s roadmap out lockdowns and it still can’t get the details right.
‘With regional Victoria on the cusp of achieving 80 per cent double vaccination, Daniel Andrews is continuing to play politics and not base his decisions on the health advice,” said Ms Bath.
“Restaurants and cafés have obligingly operated within a heavily restricted environment throughout the pandemic.
“The Premier’s last minute decision is completely illogical – it’s blindsided the hospitality industry at the eleventh hour and will result staff being stood down and businesses left short staffed.
“The Andrews Government has not forced any other industry to operate under the same conditions – the Premier must explain why the hospitality industry is being singled out for further pain,” said Ms Bath.