Businesses back new mandate: more workers must get vaccinated

Most southern businesses are likely to support the Government’s vaccine mandate announcement, Business South says.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said vaccination will be mandated in any workplace that required a certificate of vaccination for entry.

Mike Collins
Mike Collins
The Government’s sweeping new vaccine mandates for workers across the country came as 79 new community cases of Covid-19 were announced yesterday.

The Government had already mandated vaccinations for people working at the border and in the health and education sectors.

‘‘If customers must be vaccinated, then so, too, must the workers,’’ Ms Ardern said.

The mandate will affect businesses in the hospitality sector, and others including gyms, barbers and hairdressers where customers are expected to have vaccine certificates.

Yesterday, Business South was completing a survey — which happened to touch on vaccine mandates — among local businesses about the Government’s new traffic light system.

The survey closed last night.

As of late yesterday afternoon, 68% of the more than 80 respondents said they supported a vaccine mandate and believed it would have a positive impact on their businesses.

Participants were also asked whether their businesses could survive much longer under the Alert Level 2 restrictions; 85% believed they could and 15% believed they could not.

Chief executive Mike Collins said the move was step in the right direction for a return to normality.

He believed there still needed to be more clarity for businesses about what benefits it would bring to them, such as dropping restrictions hospitality businesses currently have.

There also needed to be clarity about employment relations for businesses, he said.

Hospitality Association of New Zealand Otago president Mark Scully said the mandate had made life easier because it was now the law and not a preference.

‘‘If we want to welcome people into our pub in a vaccinated environment and customers had to do it, staff should as well because we simply can’t operate at 50 people.’’

Mr Scully thought it would only be a small number of staff who would not get the jab and this could encourage more.

‘‘Not being able to get into places may not have a big impact but all of a sudden losing your job is a pretty serious consequence for people,’’ he said.

The mandate announcement was the start of a week of Covid-19 policy changes as the Government transitions away from the elimination strategy.

Possible changes to the length of managed isolation and quarantine stays went to the Cabinet yesterday and there will be an announcement today.

That is likely to mean shorter says in MIQ for some returning New Zealanders, depending on where they have travelled from.

  • There were 2,987,389 people fully vaccinated yesterday, 71% of the eligible population. — Additional reporting RNZ


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