Businesses across covid-19 ravaged parts of New South Wales and Victoria are looking forward to being able to open to more customers when the states that reach their double vaccination targets.
Despite the impending exciting there is also fears of confrontations that will occur with unvaccinated customers who will ultimately be refused entry into their stores.
Business owners in the hospitality industry are still trying to decide what is the best way to deal with unvaccinated customers and how they can get their employees to communicate with these customers will most likely be refused entry.
The NSW Government is currently working on the creation of vaccination passports which will be linked into the QR Code system when a person signs into a venue. This means their immunisation status will be displayed, therefore allowing the patron entry if they have been fully vaccinated.
The government is also working on the relevant legislation and public health order that will underpin everything and make it easier for businesses to have intense conversations with customers.
Business owners are planning to tell unvaccinated customers that “there is a law that will make the business and their management team liable if they are let onto the premises. Don’t blame the business, blame the government as the situation is out of the business owners’ controls”.
By refusing to serve people who haven’t taken the covid-19 vaccinated the business could tell the customer that they are simply following the rules the same way a bottle shop is unable to legally severe a customer who is under the 18 of age.
Many Australians are questioning whether or not refusing an unvaccinated person called be classified as discriminated.
Business lawyer Kate Thompson, a senior associate at Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors says that “discrimination is one of those areas that lots of people like to talk about, but which is not particularly well understood”.
"There is no protected attribute which relates to vaccination status, in the same way we understand traditional forms of discrimination like disability, sex, or age. So it's not overtly discriminatory or in contravention of any of the existing legislation to discriminate against someone for reason of their vaccination status,” says Kate Thompson.
However, there might be scenarios in a small number of cases where indirect discrimination occurs when a person who has a legitimate medical reason for not getting vaccinated is refused entry.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said there would be protections in place.
"Well before we open up, we'll be looking at legislative changes or the public health order to protect businesses in relation to liability to not allowing unvaccinated people in," he said.
"Industry and business have led the charge here, they've asked for this, so we can open earlier because of the pain and the impact on the economy, jobs and on their businesses."
There are many businesses across NSW who feel uncertain and concerned about their responsibilities for enforcing the vaccination rule for customers.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro revealed that there will be protections in place.
Mr Barilaro said the vaccine passport and QR code system would be trialled in a regional location with high vaccination rates and low transmission levels prior to opening up.
Mr Barilaro outlined that businesses saying they would serve customers with or without a jab should stay closed until restrictions eased further or face heavy fines.
"Businesses don't have to open at 70 percent. If they want to open, they open under the framework that we've designed and announced, and that is for vaccinated staff having vaccinated customers,” said NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.