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Coffee king Phillip Di Bella vows to defy Annastacia Palaszczuk’s vaccine mandate for customers

‘Coffee king’ Phillip Di Bella has slammed Annastacia Palaszczuk’s jab mandate as ‘discrimination’ as he vows to allow unvaccinated Queenslanders into his business.

The premier announced on Tuesday people without the Covid jab will be banned from a multitude of venues, including pubs, cafes, cinemas, stadiums, and shopping centres, from December 17. 

But the Brisbane entrepreneur – who founded one of Australia’s largest specialty coffee roasters – said the rule was a human rights issue and pledged to defy the order at his Bowen Hills venue, The Coffee Commune. 

‘It won’t be happening in my venue I can assure you,’ Mr Di Bella said in a video uploaded to Facebook on Tuesday.

Coffee baron Phillip Di Bella (pictured) has vowed to defy vaccine mandates banning the unvaccinated from entering Queensland businesses next month 

‘The Coffee Commune will not discriminate. If you want to be vaccinated, you be vaccinated, if you don’t, you don’t. You take the health precautions that you need for yourself.’

Once 80 per cent of Queenslanders are fully-vaccinated – forecast for around December 17 – all Covid-19 restrictions will end for hospitality and entertainment venue. 

From that date, only businesses where all staff and patrons are fully vaccinated will be legally allowed to operate in Queensland. 

‘This is both a reward for the fully vaccinated and a precaution for when the borders open and we will see more cases in our community,’ Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Tuesday.

‘And people deserve to know that they can go to these places and that they are safe.’

Businesses welcomed the plan, saying it gives them clarity ahead of state borders reopening. 

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s Amanda Rohan says businesses want guidelines on what will happen when infectious cases hit their venues, and on using rapid antigen testing.  

‘While it means businesses can now get back to work preparing for the reopening, there are still some things outstanding they need more information and clarity on,’ she said.

But Mr Di Bella, who founded coffee empire Di Bella Group in 2002, said the mandate was a ‘human rights’ issue and he ‘does not stand for it’.

Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday people without the Covid jab will not be allowed into a multitude of venues from December 17

Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday people without the Covid jab will not be allowed into a multitude of venues from December 17

‘Forget about the vaccine – this is not about that – this is about mandating something that takes away freedoms from people who do not comply,’ he said.

‘Politicians work for the people and if you support them mandating something like this – that you have your human rights taken away on where you can eat, where you can drink, where you can associate (and) where you can go, based on whether you are vaccinated or not – then you have rocks in your head and this country has gone mad.’

The Coffee Commune, which opened in March, is a roastery and coffee retailer with a public café onsite, which also hosts barista training courses. 

The business describes itself as ‘a dedicated facility for café and hospitality professionals, coffee enthusiasts, businesses, and suppliers to learn from each other and accelerate their business’ on its website. 

Mr Di Bella, who is worth more than $100million according to the BRW rich list, was recently named Business Person of the Year at the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards.

Mr Di Bella said he would not be enforcing the vaccine rule at his Brisbane business, The Coffee Commune (pictured) at Bowen Hills

Mr Di Bella said he would not be enforcing the vaccine rule at his Brisbane business, The Coffee Commune (pictured) at Bowen Hills

The caffeine juggernaut sold Di Bella Group – which produces around 3480 tonnes of coffee per year (or 150 million cups) – to Retail Food Group for $47million in 2014. 

From December 17, restrictions will be dropped at pubs, cafes and restaurants to cinemas, theatres and stadiums and guest limits will be scrapped at weddings.

The state’s check-in app will be updated on November 19 to allow people to add their vaccination status to their profiles. 

Unvaccinated people will be banned from all hospitals, aged and disability care facilities and prisons.

The only exceptions to the ban will be for childbirth, emergency situations or end of life visits. 

Commonwealth figures show at least 79.84 per cent of Queenslanders 16 years and over have had their first dose, and 67.84 per cent are double dosed.

Currently, masks must be carried at all times and worn when people can’t socially distance in Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Lockyer, Somerset, Logan, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gold Coast and Scenic Rim.

They’re also mandatory on public transport, when arriving and leaving venues and stadiums, and at schools for students and teachers when they are not seated or teaching.

The mandate will remain in force in all airports and on planes in Queensland, in line with federal rules.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said mask mandates could be enforced in low-vaccination regions if there were outbreaks once the borders reopen.

Queensland recorded no new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday and one in hotel quarantine after 8121 tests.

New Covid rules for Queenslanders from December 17 

Fully vaccinated people, once Queenslanders reaches 80 per cent of eligible (16 and over) residents with two doses of a Covid vaccine, can enter the following without social distancing requirements:

– Pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants and cafes

– Nightclubs, live music venues and cinemas

– Sporting stadiums and theme parks

– Indoor and outdoor festivals 

– Government-owned galleries, museums and libraries

– Aged care, hospitals, prisons and disability services. Unvaccinated people will only be excepted in end-of-life or emergency situations.