Victoria’s ‘vaccinated economy’ trial faces opposition from some Central Victorian business owners

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Some Central Victorian business owners say they will not adhere to the Victorian government’s proposed vaccinated economy, to be mandated as the state reaches the 70 per cent fully vaccinated mark on October 26.

Helen Geri owns Bridgewater Motel and Sea Lake Motel and says she does not police whether patrons have used the QR code system and will not be checking vaccination statuses if required.

“We feel they [our guests] are adults and understand exactly what’s going on and are capable of making their choice to protect themselves in the way they feel confident to do that,” she said.

“Our job is to provide them a clean, healthy and safe environment … certainly not to manage their mobile phone usage or control their anything.

“I don’t feel that it is my job, and I don’t believe it is my duty to force people to do that.”

Beauty service owner Sharon told ABC Central Victoria that despite coronavirus lockdowns forcing her to shut her doors, she will also not be asking people to show their vaccine statuses.

“My business will not differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated,” she said.

“As far as we’re concerned, everyone has the equal right to use our services.

“I treat vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Irrespective (of the vaccine passport), I will still be treating everyone as equal.”

Businesses scared to enforce vaccine checks

Other businesses who support the vaccine passports move are worried about the implications after facing abuse for supporting the vaccinated economy trial.

Laurie Whelan, owner of Bendigo’s Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery and Cafe, said his staff have already received verbal abuse from patrons when asked to see proof of a local residence under the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions for regional Victoria.

“On Tuesday we had a really nasty person come in. When she was asked for ID by our staff; just what erupted from that, was not called for, just totally disgusting,” he said.

“They were really reluctant and didn’t cooperate in showing their ID and then it became this swearing outburst [and] ridicule of our staff.

“Staff don’t need to be dealing with that; they’ve got a job and they want to be doing that in a safe and healthy environment.”

Mr Whelan says he is still deciding whether he wants to take part in the vaccinated economy trial, but if a vaccine passport was to be mandated by the Victorian government, he would like to see more support for staff.

Bridgewater resident Tim told ABC Central Victoria that he does not want to see his town become an “oasis” for the unvaccinated.

“I don’t think it’s a good advertisement for the town,” he said.

Push for greater trial support

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan says as preparation for the vaccinated economy trial begins in Bendigo, support officers will be deployed by the state government to provide staff with help and training.

“One of the reasons we’re working through the trial is to carefully step through the supports that [not only] business owners need, but also the staff,” she said.

“I think the important thing, as part of the vaccinated economy trial, will be providing as much support for businesses as we can.

“There will be people on the ground working with those businesses to ensure the trial runs smoothly.”

The vaccinated economy trial launches across the City of Greater Bendigo on October 11.

(Original ABC Article)