Australia faces a future of venues divided into those for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has suggested.
Ms Berejiklian responded to concerns expressed by hospitality insiders that they face a potential ‘legal minefield’ in policing the vaccination status of patrons.
The NSW roadmap plan, which allows more freedoms for fully vaccinated residents when the state reaches 70 per cent vaccinated, was ‘extremely black and white’, she said.
But she was less clear when asked how venues could operate once the eligible population reaches 80 per cent full vaccination.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said unvaccinated people could not access venues at 70 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated, but was less clear on what will happen once the 80 percent target is reached
People queue outside a Covid-19 pop-up vaccination clinic at Ashfield in Sydney
‘At 70 percent, if you’re not vaccinated, it will be a health order and the law… you can’t attend venues on the road map. You can’t go into a hospitality venue. You can’t go to ticketed events unless you are vaccinated.
‘We made that very clear for 70 per cent double dose.’
The orders mandating full vaccination would apply to both venue staff and patrons, she confirmed.
Ms Berejiklian said the NSW government was working on what would be possible at 80 per cent of people double dosed, while suggesting that certain restrictions would still apply to unvaccinated people.
‘Even at 80 per cent, the kind of questions government will need to answer is, do you want, say, for example, 100 per cent of a venue occupied?
‘If you do, that’s great, but that means you’ll probably need vaccination. If you want 70 per cent of a venue occupied, you might be able to rely on social distancing and other measures.
‘These are the issues to think about at 80 per cent. It’s not been made public because we’re still working on it.’
In restoring freedoms, the premier said the government still needed to take account of the possible impact of unvaccinated people on the health system.
‘We need to consider not only what the unvaccinated population could do to our hospital system, but the rate at which the disease can still spread if too many people are unvaccinated,’ she said.
‘Imagine if 30 per cent of our adult population all got the virus, a large proportion got ill, our hospital system would be overrun.
‘We’ve made this clear from the outset. This is consistent with the Doherty plan. It’s consistent with the national plan and it’s consistent with what we’ve been saying.’
Entry restrictions on unvaccinated people might still apply once 80 percent of the eligible population was fully vaccinated, Ms Berejiklian suggested
Entry to venues once 70 percent of the eligible population was fully vaccinated would apply to the vaccination status of both staff and patrons
Ms Berejiklian said that the health system could be overrun if 30 percent of the population remained unvaccinated after re-opening
Business owners concerned about screening people for their vaccination status would be able to rely on the QR code check-in system, Ms Berejiklian said.
‘We’ll have the vaccination passport in NSW when we hit 70 per cent double dose,’ she said. ‘You’ll be able to check in with your QR code and see whether or not you’re vaccinated and that’s really important.’
The premier said her government was still seeking legal advice through the national cabinet process on how to implement a system that distinguished between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
‘This is uncharted territory but we’re providing as much certainty as possible, as much as we know exists at 70% double dose and in good time, with plenty of notice, we’ll be giving everybody a road map as to what 80 percent double dose looks like,’ she said.
On the Today Show on Wednesday, Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan described vaccine passports for entry to places such as restaurants and cafes as ‘divisive’.
‘We should not have vaccine passports at all. They are incredibly divisive,’ he said.
‘The law is wrong. I myself just won’t go to places that require vaccine passports. I just encourage Australians who are against a police papers state, just boycott it. You have a choice.
‘I just won’t go to those sort of places, because I don’t want to live in a country that divides us into two different types of people.’
Celebrity restaurateur Neil Perry said a temporary health order was needed to ensure vaccinated and unvaccinated do not mix in hospitality venues
Celebrity restaurateur Neil Perry warned on Wednesday it would be a recipe for disaster to allow vaccinated and un-vaccinated patrons to mingle in venues at the 70 per cent double-dose mark.
He called for a temporary health order under the state of emergency to ensure vaccinated and un-vaccinated patrons cannot mingle, preventing venues from allowing unvaccinated people to enter.
‘It sort of implies that if there isn’t, then you can make the decision whether you want to let vaccinated or unvaccinated people to 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.