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Community & Business

23 October, 2021

Business braces for vax check-in backlash

Gilgandra business owners have expressed concern at the prospect of having to turn away unvaccinated customers.

By Emily Middleton

From Monday October 11, anyone who has not received both doses of any COVID-19 vaccine cannot enter any business unless for an essential service or take away.

However, there is some confusion as to how this will be policed in the Gilgandra shire.

“It’s just the lack of communication really,” said Gil News and Gifts owner Caitlin King.

“The whole vaccinated, unvaccinated thing is what has got us really nervous. Having to deal with that, what happens if someone gets cranky what are our obligations and rights, do you let them in for your own safety?”

Ms King is concerned for her safety, being a young woman who works primarily alone in the store.

“I don’t know what to do, and especially if I have younger staff. I will have to have my dad here as an older bloke because they’re more likely to listen to him.

“Thankfully most of Gil is vaccinated, so it’ll be more outside travellers and other towns that we’ll be dealing with. But having to ask people for their vaccination status, I don’t know how I’m going to do that, like if I’m serving someone I’ll have to stop, go to the door, check their status. It’s just going to clog it up,” said Ms King.

But bottlenecks at the doorway and personal safety isn’t the only concern either.

“I might have to put someone else on to manage it, which will cost me double the amount of wages just to do this. And travellers are a lot of our income, so having to turn them away could affect the business dramatically.”

After further investigation, Ms King has found that if you are an essential service, you are not obliged to check people’s vaccination status. While Gil News and Gifts are off the hook, stores such as Bi-Rite will have to start checking.

“I just have to ask them for their vaccination certificate, and if they can’t I’m just going to have to say well, because of rules, we are not supposed to let you in here, even to look,” said Bi-Rite staff member, Denise Quealey.

A sign stating you are unable to enter unless you are fully vaccinated has been seen on Bi-Rite’s door for well over a week now, and it has already caused some trouble.

“I’ve already had a couple of people want to sign by paper, and I’ve had one fella who brought me his vaccination certificate and said that was his sign in. He was told that he was allowed to come in on that and I tried to argue with him to sign in with a QR code, but he didn’t want to know,” said Ms Quealey.

“We don’t want to be fined.”

Lisa Gilmore from the Windmill Bakery is bracing for people to not want to follow by the rules.

“There’s a lot that don’t abide by the system, so come Monday nothing would have changed,” said Ms Gilmore.

“They don’t want to give personal information. You’ll get some who are a bit of a douche about it and others that flat out don’t want to. It’s hard being a business owner trying to do the right thing. I have on many occasions refused service to customers because they wouldn’t sign in or wear a mask, so they’re attitude is well we’ll go elsewhere. But when they go elsewhere, they’ll still have to do what I’ve asked.”

The people of Gilgandra are urged to continue to follow the rules by wearing a mask indoors, signing into venues and showing your COVID-19 vaccination certificate where needed.

A reminder that as of Monday October 11, visiting all non-essential businesses will require you to be fully vaccinated. Proof will be required.

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