Hospitality industry “more than willing to help” speed up the vaccine rollout


Chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Wes Lambert. Source: supplied.

The hospitality industry is ‘more than willing to help’ speed up the vaccine rollout by leveraging its 48,000 businesses to communicate information to the public.

On Wednesday, industry associations and 30 chief executives of some of the country’s largest employers attended a forum hosted by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to discuss the role of businesses in the vaccine rollout.

The Operation Covid Shield National Business Partnership Forum, also attended by Lieutenant General John Frewen, professor Paul Kelly and doctor Stephen Kennedy, looked at how different industries can help speed up the rollout by using their premises, communicating to staff and the public, and by offering incentives.

Wes Lambert, chief executive of industry association Restaurant and Catering, proposed turning large function centres into vaccination hubs as well as using hospitality businesses to circulate information to the general public.

“For us it was really about how we can communicate to businesses and to customers,” Lambert tells SmartCompany.

“We’re more than willing to help do that, and we certainly have a lot of function centres around the country that have been under utilised during the pandemic where we certainly could set up vaccination hubs,” he says.

The forum also discussed whether the government should adopt ‘carrot or stick’ incentives to encourage Australians to get vaccinated. For example, the forum looked at whether unvaccinated people should be banned from doing certain things, or whether lottery tickets, and other bonuses would prove more successful.

Lambert says Frydenberg told the forum that it would take more than a Bunnings snag to get people vaccinated, and proposed using airline miles, creating a lottery or recruiting celebrities to endorse the vaccine.

Australia’s vaccine rollout is progressing at a much slower rate compared to other countries. Currently just over 7% of the community is fully vaccinated. This compares to about 51% of the population in the UK, and 47% of the population in the US.


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