Australia faces a future of locations divided into those for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian has suggested.
Ms Berejiklian responded to concerns from hospitality industry insiders that they will face a potential ‘legal minefield’ when checking customers’ vaccination status.
The NSW’s plan, which offers more freedoms to fully vaccinated residents when the state is 70 percent vaccinated, was “extremely black and white,” she said.
But she was less clear when asked how sites might work once the eligible population has reached 80 percent of full vaccination coverage.
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said unvaccinated people could not access sites in 70 percent of the eligible population who were fully vaccinated, but was less clear about what will happen once the 80 percent target is reached
People queue for Covid-19 pop-up vaccination clinic in Sydney’s Ashfield
“At 70 percent, if you’re not vaccinated, it’s a health order and the law… you can’t visit locations that are on the roadmap. You cannot go to a catering establishment. You cannot attend events with a ticket unless you are vaccinated.
“We made that very clear for 70 percent double dose.”
The orders mandating full vaccination would apply to both site staff and customers, she confirmed.
Ms Berejiklian said the NSW government was working on what would be possible if 80 percent of people received a double dose, while suggesting certain restrictions would still apply to unvaccinated people.
‘Even at 80 percent, the kind of questions that the government has to answer are: do you want to keep 100 percent of a room occupied, for example?
“If you do, that’s great, but that means you probably need to be vaccinated. If you want 70 percent of a location to be occupied, you may want to rely on social distancing and other measures.
“These are things to think about at 80 percent. It has not been made public because we are still working on it.”
In restoring freedoms, the prime minister said the government still needs to consider the potential impact of unvaccinated people on the health system.
“We need to think not only about what the unvaccinated population could do with our hospital system, but also the rate at which the disease can still spread if too many people are unvaccinated,” she said.
“Imagine that 30 percent of our adult population got the virus, a large part of it got sick, our hospital system was flooded.
“We made that clear from the start. This is in line with the Doherty plan. It’s consistent with the national plan and it’s consistent with what we’ve said.”
Entry restrictions for unvaccinated people may still apply if 80 percent of eligible population is fully vaccinated, Ms Berejiklian suggested
Access to sites once 70 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated applies to the vaccination status of both staff and customers
Ms Berejiklian said the health system could be overrun if 30 percent of the population remained unvaccinated after reopening
Entrepreneurs concerned about screening people for their vaccination status can rely on the QR code check-in system, Ms Berejiklian said.
“We will have the vaccination passport in NSW when we reach the 70 percent double dose,” she said. ‘You can check in with your QR code and see whether or not you have been vaccinated and that is very important.’
The prime minister said her government was still seeking legal advice through the national cabinet process on how to implement a system that differentiates between vaccinated and unvaccinated.
“This is virgin territory, but we are offering as much certainty as possible, as far as we know exists on a 70% double dose and in due course, with wide notice, we will give everyone a roadmap on what appears to be 80 percent double dose,” she said.
Speaking on Wednesday’s Today Show, Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan described vaccine passports for entry to places like restaurants and cafes as “divisive.”
“We shouldn’t have any vaccine passports at all. They are incredibly divisive,’ he said.
“The law is wrong. I just don’t go to places where vaccination passports are needed. I encourage Australians who are against a police paper record to just boycott it. You have a choice.
“I just don’t go to places like that because I don’t want to live in a country that divides us into two different kinds of people.”
Celebrity restaurateur Neil Perry said a temporary health injunction was needed to ensure vaccinated and unvaccinated people don’t mix in catering establishments
Celebrity restaurateur Neil Perry warned Wednesday that it would be a recipe for disaster if vaccinated and unvaccinated customers mixed in locations with a double dose of 70 percent.
He called for a temporary health decree under the state of emergency to ensure that vaccinated and unvaccinated customers cannot mix, allowing sites to let in unvaccinated people.
“It kind of means that if not, you can make the decision whether you want vaccinated or unvaccinated people in your restaurant,” he told Karl Stefanovic on the Today show on Wednesday.
“I’m concerned about the community and unvaccinated people ending up in hospital,” Perry said.