Staff employed at takeaway food and drink businesses no longer have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 despite the Government earlier saying they did.
Two weeks ago Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said all staff working in hospitality needed to have their first vaccination injection by the time the traffic light system came into effect on Friday.
But on Friday night, official food and drink service guidelines were changed to say if a business is solely takeaway food and drink, then workers do not need to be vaccinated. Also, if they opt to not ask for vaccine passes, they can operate as takeaway.
A national takeaway chain owner Stuff spoke to, who wished to remain anonymous, said the Government’s original advice had resulted in her having to terminate the employment of two unvaccinated full-time staff members, and it couldn’t open one of its stores due to a staff shortage.
All up the mandate cost the business about $20,000 and resulted in emotional distress for the two workers, she said.
“The emotional impact on them has been huge.”
I don’t think the Government at all comprehends what it is like for small businesses trying to cope. Changing the rules every two weeks results in people losing their jobs and incomes etc.
Under the updated guidelines the chain is allowed to employ unvaccinated staff.
The staff who had been let go were too distraught to return to their jobs, she said.
“Even though we have reversed the termination, the girls are emotionally broken.”
The owner, who wanted to remain anonymous out of fear of public backlash, said the mental health impacts stemming from the Government’s actions were outweighing the damage caused by Covid-19.
“This is meant to be about Covid and keeping healthy. The mental health distress that they have caused far exceeds any Covid concerns.”
She said she felt untrusting of the Government now.
Sadly there is no end in sight. I can’t imagine the Government is going to put any region into Green in the next year. They’re ignoring their own guidelines as to when a region should be green or orange.