- Vaccine mandate in Queensland could extend to supermarkets and chemists
- Small Business Minister Di Farmer said businesses could opt in to the mandate
- Unvaccinated cannot enter pubs, bars, restaurants and cinemas from Dec 17
- Supermarkets and pharmacies were exempt from the mandate as essential services
Queensland supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential businesses could have the ability to mandate vaccination and exclude unvaccinated people, according to the state’s small business minister.
Anyone entering a cafe, restaurant, bar, club, pub, theatre, cinema, museum, library or sport stadium will need to be fully vaccinated under a statewide mandate from December 17.
The mandate doesn’t extend to essential services like grocery stores, but Small Business Minister Di Farmer says all private business are allowed to opt in to the mandate.
‘The ability to mandate that staff and patrons be vaccinated is available to every business,’ Ms Farmer told reporters on Thursday.
‘Any business is able to make that decision, and I think a lot of them are actually thinking about that very seriously.
‘(When Queensland opens up) you will need to be protected and businesses all over Queensland will be making that decision.
‘If a person decides not to be vaccinated, then those are the things that they will take into consideration.’
Anyone entering a cafe, restaurant, bar, club, pub, theatre, cinema, museum, library or sport stadium will need to be fully vaccinated under a statewide mandate from December 17 but essential businesses such as supermarkets and chemists were exempt. Now, one of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s ministers has said private businesses could ‘opt in’ to the mandate
While the state will allow private businesses to do as they please, the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties said there must be a balance between people’s rights and the public interest.
He said unvaccinated people need to be able to do essential shopping like buying food and medicine.
‘We say that the correct balance is if you have a mandate, it must provide an exception of people who are conscientious objectors,’ QCCL president Michael Pope told AAP.
‘And on top of that, you’ve got to deal with the fact that people have to be able to buy food and get access to things like pharmacies and those sort of things.
‘We accept that this is a serious emergency which requires responses in relation to civil liberties that in normal times we would not accept.
‘But we’ve always argued that those responses have to be necessary and proportionate.’
Just fours days out from travel restrictions easing on fully vaccinated travellers from domestic COVID-19 hotspots, the government is yet to release guidelines for how business should deal with virus cases.
Venues and essential businesses still don’t know how close contacts will be dealt with if a COVID-19 cases enters their premises.
Currently close contacts must self-isolate for 14-days regardless of their vaccination status.
A Woolworths supermarket in Brisbane. The mandate on unvaccinated people doesn’t extend to essential services like supermarkets and grocery stores but Small Business Minister Di Farmer says all private businesses can participate in the mandateQueensland makes major changes to quarantine rules starting 2022
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath promised new health directives, which may be less strict for mandated businesses, will be released before the border opening on Monday.
‘In the coming days, the government will issue the guidelines required for business and industry as our border reopens,” she said in a statement.
‘This will include information on managing close contacts in the workplace.