Fears Queensland hotel staff will become ‘COVID cops’ amid increase in abuse in plan for vaccine sites

Queensland businesses that allow unvaccinated staff and customers will face tighter COVID-19 restrictions imposed as part of a new plan being developed by the state government, the deputy said. Prime Minister.

The plan has sparked concern from some politicians and business groups who fear that asking hotel staff to “monitor” a guest’s immunization status could lead to increased abuse.

The Queensland government is developing another roadmap on restrictions with businesses before the state opens its border to declared COVID hotspots in New South Wales, ACT and Victoria on December 17.

Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles said sites that only allow vaccinated clients and staff will face at least restrictions, such as increased capacity limits, during an inevitable outbreak.

The program would require companies to verify proof of vaccination among customers.

“We are now in discussions with companies that would like to take the opportunity to have only workers and customers vaccinated at their sites and those sites will be subject to at least the least restrictions,” said Mr. Miles.

“Other sites that have people both vaccinated and unvaccinated, they will continue to have some level of other public health restrictions probably until we hit that 90% threshold.”

The government is not expected to release its roadmap for local businesses until it hits higher vaccine targets later in the year.

“When we hit those thresholds, there will be another roadmap on restrictions,” Mr. Miles said.

Leaders have flown to faraway destinations in the hinterland in a sustained push to have regional Queenslanders vaccinated within 11 days to ensure they are fully protected by the time borders reopen at hot spots COVID.

“Not our job” to the vaccination “police”

The prospect of having staff verify the immunization status of clients has already been closed by some in the industry.

Alex Johns is co-owner of the Sol Bar concert hall in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast.

Dimi Limnatite and Alex Johns
Solbar co-owners Dimi Limnatitis and Alex Johns say they won’t ask their staff to check to see if customers are vaccinated.(ABC News: Owen Jacques)

He said asking his staff to check if clients were vaccinated wouldn’t be fair.

“Our frontline workers, friends of the house, have been subjected to a torrent of abuse at certain levels around [restrictions like] sit down, stand up, take off your mask, put your mask back on, etc. Mr. Johns said.

“[To] then have them [staff] try to tell an anti-vax person not to come to this place, I don’t think in good conscience I can.

Brightside Brisbane venue reservation manager Chris Langenberg said concert halls like his had no choice but to join in on vaccines only.

“All of our business is in live music, if the bands can’t come from state to state or from overseas because of unvaccinated people, then we won’t be able to function,” he said. declared.

“We’ve struggled so much. We’re at a point where it’s so unsustainable, so any solution is great news for us.”

Hospitality industry expects short-term increase in abuse

Queensland Hotels Association CEO Bernie Hogan said the choice of sites for vaccines only would depend on the type of site and their location.

“[This will have] different effects for different companies in different parts of states, ”Hogan said.

He said companies that rely on high-capacity acts such as festivals, concert halls and nightclubs will likely find the vaccine-only option an attractive solution to months of restrictions.

But he said some companies may struggle to find enough vaccinated staff in the workforce available to fill the rosters, especially in areas hard hit by tourist closures.

Crowds make their way through some of the stalls at the Woodford Folk Festival.
Industry leaders say the move should encourage young people who want to attend music festivals to get vaccinated. (ABC News: Giulio Saggin)

Mr Hogan said the plan was clearly aimed at encouraging slow vaccination rates among young Queenslanders, keen to take advantage of concert halls and music festivals over the summer.

He said that, as with all changes, he expected vaccine sites to see a short-term increase in the number of clients mistreating staff members.

“We will absolutely have people mistreating staff… We have people mistreating staff members every day of the week,” he said.

“I’m sorry for those poor employees who have to put up with other people who are inflicting opinion on them when all they’re trying to do is finish a job and play by the rules.”

He said the only solution was to increase vaccination rates.

“Without reaching more than 80 percent [vaccinated], realistically, Queensland is locked up and we cannot have one part of Queensland that puts the other part in danger or held to ransom. “

Queensland warned to ‘think twice’ before making staff ‘COVID cops’

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli has said he does not support small business owners becoming “COVID cops”.

“You can’t constantly ask small family business owners to bear all the costs, all the anger,” he said.

Crisafulli speaks with the owner of the place live.
Opposition leader David Crisafulli (right) said the plan could see hotel workers act like “COVID cops” checking guests’ vaccination status.(ABC News: Owen Jacques)

This is a concern echoed by Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner, who said Queensland needed to “think twice” before getting staff to “police” vaccinations.

“I feel fair to the retail staff, the site staff then kind of got to be the police of who has it and who doesn’t,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane. .

“We have heard comments from retail staff that there are more cases of verbal abuse happening right now.

“Things like checking in and wearing masks, there are a number of people who are strongly opposed to that.”

Despite his concerns, the Lord Mayor hailed the roadmap to reopen to enlarged Australia.

“Setting those deadlines is a very good step because whether or not you get vaccinated you know the opening is coming,” said Mr Schrinner.

“I think it will be an impetus for some people who may not have had a sense of urgency in the past to get the vaccine now.”

The government is expected to publish a detailed roadmap for local businesses at the end of the year.

Mr Miles said the government is also reviewing whether unvaccinated people will be prevented from entering government-owned facilities and workplaces.

For now, authorities have warned that the Queensland Check-In app is expected to remain a mainstay of public outings as the state navigates a COVID-normal future.

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