NSW businesses risk $5000 fines for serving unvaxxed customers

businesses unvaccinated

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard. Source: AAP/Dan Himbrechts.

The NSW government has confirmed businesses will be fined $5000 if they fail to stop unvaccinated customers from entering their venues when COVID-19 restrictions ease next week.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard outlined the new penalties in a statement on Sunday, stating that businesses will be responsible for “taking reasonable measures to stop unvaccinated people entering premises”.

Reasonable measures include having signs explaining entry requirements, Service NSW QR codes and staff checking vaccination status and only accepting valid forms of evidence.

Announcing the penalties, Hazzard said increasing vaccination rates will allow the government to continue easing restrictions as NSW opens up.

“Despite the ongoing challenges that will continue to be posed by COVID-19, we have the opportunity to lead the world which is why it is vital everyone is vaccinated and follows the updated public health advice that will be in place from 11 October,” he said.

Businesses to be monitored

The NSW government announced the new fines one week ahead of tough COVID-19 restrictions easing next Monday, when 70% of the eligible population will be fully vaccinated.

Officers will monitor the businesses that reopen on October 11 and will focus on those with vaccination requirements, such as hospitality, retail, gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons.

Authorised officers can issue on-the-spot fines of $5000 to businesses that don’t comply with vaccination requirements. Higher fines may apply for businesses that seriously breach public health orders.

Individuals face on-the-spot fines of $1000 if they don’t comply with the vaccination requirements, including using fake evidence of vaccination.

Businesses brace for push back from customers

Despite restrictions easing next Monday, businesses in NSW remain concerned about how to enforce vaccination passports.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has urged the government to clarify how businesses will be expected to police vaccination passports on behalf of its members. 

Andrew McKellar, ACCI chief executive, said leaving commercial venues to check vaccination status without clear guidelines is placing the burden on small businesses.

“The lack of clarity is particularly stressful for small and medium businesses who don’t have the resources to navigate complex privacy and discrimination laws,” McKellar said.

Workers are equally concerned about how they will enforce vaccination requirements on the job.

Crime data analysed by the McKell Institute for the country’s peak retail and fast food union show harassment at retail and wholesale premises in NSW has increased by 22% since before the pandemic.

The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), which represents 200,000 workers, expects retail workers will experience a spike in incidents of harassment when vaccination requirements kick in for businesses.

According to the research, the LGAs of Campbelltown, Sydney and Blacktown have recorded a significantly higher increase in harassment offences in and around shops compared to the state’s average.

Campbelltown experienced the largest increase in offences, with the number of incidents of intimidation, stalking and harassment in shops rising by 78% when comparing 2018-19 to 2020-21.

The McKell Institute forecasts these incidents to continue to rise as restrictions ease and retail workers will be required to ensure only vaccinated patrons are present in their venues.

Bernie Smith, SDA NSW secretary, said the union is urging the government to improve protections for shop workers, including specific provisions in health orders and legislation for bigger penalties for abusing retail employees.

“It is not the responsibility of retail workers as restrictions are lifted to enforce shopper compliance with government regulations and requirements,” Smith said.

“As the economy opens up and we head toward the Christmas shopping crush we need to respect and protect these essential retail workers.”

COMMENTS

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James
James
13 days ago

As a business owner, we won’t police this, we can’t, we refuse to discriminate because of illogical rules that don’t make sense. You mr “Hazard” and the gov alike should be trying to help us, instead of threatening us. Shame on you all!!!

Vanessa
Vanessa
7 days ago
Reply to  James

Thankyou thankyou thankyou.

Mark
Mark
13 days ago

And no I am not an antivaxxer.

This is wrong on so many levels. Disgraceful, medical apartheid going on in this day and age, and in Australia of all places, the home of the free. Once upon a time that was true.

Segregating human beings is wrong wrong wrong. Have we not learnt anything from history.

They locked down businesses and people for nearly 2 years, destroyed the economy and some people’s lives, banned Australian citizens from leaving and entering their home country, all in the name of promising to keep them safe. They have failed every decent Aussie.

CHRISTINE HAWKINS AM
CHRISTINE HAWKINS AM
12 days ago

Clearly none of the politicians or bureaucrats behind this decision have ever worked in a small business with lots of customers normally handled effectively by one or two staff. The entrances will have to be barricaded or locked to manage this.

Michelle P
Michelle P
12 days ago

Disgusting! Absolutely disgusting. We won’t be discriminating – fine us! Fine us all! We’ll clog up the courts for years to come. This policy is SO illegal, just because a minister ‘says’ doesn’t mean it’s law.

Jed Lloyd
Jed Lloyd
11 days ago
Reply to  Michelle P

Yes it does

Alen
Alen
12 days ago

This is the most disgraceful government in the history of Australia surpassing anything that happened in Germany, as this assault on humanity is pressed onto its own people.
Nothing but poison from this government and main stream Media.

Geoff
Geoff
12 days ago

I’m extremely amazed how leaders forget to report on the following,
Covid 19 deaths (are reported everyday)
EVERYONE, I would suggest to contact media & friends to force leaders to report on the following:
Suicide rates
Other flu/viruses
People who have passed away from not getting operations
The amount of jobs lost
The amount of homes taken back by the bank
Marriages break ups
Domestic violence deaths
NOW the authorities want to put a crazy amount of more pressure on family businesses that is completely useless & will have a major effect on society, this needs a major rethink.
REMEMBER vaxed or not vaxed everyone can still spread C19 equally, 70% is no longer a problem for hospitals so let’s be fair to all and have equal rights.
Hope this opens up people’s eyes & helps.

joyce Black
joyce Black
11 days ago

these are dark times that any of this has even been suggested. Australia no longer the land of the free I am ashamed .

Jade
Jade
11 days ago

Hang on a minute-
Jeremy King, lawyer for Brad Hazzard…, “very simply, there is NO requirement for vaccination under the public health orders” daily telegraph  oct 5
Therefore there would be no legal leg to stand on – right??

Jade
Jade
11 days ago

These comments renew my faith in the Aussie people 😍

dumb professional
dumb professional
10 days ago

I just don’t care anymore …. I’ve lost so much in the last couple of years that a $5000 fine is just a joke to me (they won’t get a penny off me even when I’m in the grave!!) I’m considering leaving the Homeland to somewhere where they don’t persecute normal people. My ancestors would turn in their graves if they could see what they fought for.

Ivan
Ivan
9 days ago

The psyop these bastards that call themselves politicians (paid liars) are perpetrating on small business is beyond evil. I pity those businesses that decide to follow this utter BS. History will not be kind to either the clown show puppet pollies or the businesses that enforce these illegal and unlawful directives.

Chris Wakeford
Chris Wakeford
7 days ago

A massive lawsuit should be made against the sick state for their 2 class system.
Clearly a penal 2 class state..