The Andrews Labor Government’s vaccinated economy rules are confusing and frustrating for small businesses and customers as communities struggle to understand their obligations.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said she had been contacted by several businesses who had suffered abuse from customers this week because they had to ask for vaccination certificates.
She said with Victoria now at 90 per cent and all three LGAs in the South West Coast above 95 per cent double-dose vaccinated, public health experts say there is no benefit in continuing to exclude unvaccinated people from retail stores deemed non-essential.
“The government will say it makes no apologies for keeping people safe, but are these current measures really keeping us any safer when our vaccination rates are already so high?” Ms Britnell said.
“It seems more like the government now wants to punish those who are not vaccinated, including some children, by excluding them from settings they deem non-essential. But all it is doing is making life tougher for small businesses at a time when they are trying to reopen, rebuild and recover.
“The Christmas period is a peak time for small business as they try and recoup some of the losses they have suffered as a result of seven lockdowns and a raft of restrictions over the last two years.”
Ms Britnell said there was confusion around how retail outlets were deemed non-essential.
“I have had hardware stores contact me asking why they are deemed non-essential when they sell vital household goods,” she said.
“It doesn’t make sense. They just want the ability to serve everyone and we are at a stage now where vaccination levels are high enough for shops to have the ability to welcome everyone through their doors.”
Mr Britnell urged customers to be patient with shop owners or staff who had to enforce the rules.
“Abusing shop owners and staff is unacceptable,” she said. “We need to remember the impact Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions have had on our small businesses.
“They did not make the rules, they have just been unfairly left to enforce them by the Andrews Labor Government.”
Ms Britnell said the indefinite nature of the two-tiered system needed to end, like NSW which today announced unvaccinated people could return to non-essential shops, restaurants and gyms by December 15 at the latest.