SUE Gilroy, president of the Singleton Chamber of Commerce, said she is highly concerned by today’s government announcement that opening a business or serving a non-vaccinated customer will be illegal once the state reaches 70 percent double vaccination.
“The pressure that puts on our businesses is massive!” said Ms Gilroy.
“If you’re busy and let’s hope to god these businesses are busy, how do you have time to ask if someone is vaccinated, then having a difficult conversation which will bring up all sorts of emotions for the business owner and the person,” she said.
“It’s very confrontational and coming back from a really challenging time, they can’t afford to bring on another person to do this, it’s very unfair on our business people to do it.
“And who’s going to enforce it, how will they enforce it?
“The fear of someone walking through the door unvaccinated and then they get caught.
When the new law is introduced people who are unvaccinated will be able to go to supermarkets and things deemed essential, but not other retail businesses and hospitality venues.
“So people can’t walk into a florist and buy flowers, they can’t buy a dress at a dress sop, but they can go to Coles or Woolies, that doesn’t make sense,” she said.
“They’ll let Coles and Woolies keep trading and they don’t have to worry about their next dollar, but our small businesses do, it’s just another blow to small businesses,” Sue Gilroy said.
Businesses accessing vaccinations
Many local businesses are struggling to access vaccinations for their staff and worry they will not be able to reopen when the restrictions ease at 70 percent vaccination rate.
“Freedom day is bringing fear for many local businesses, who may not even be able to reopen when it happens, because they haven’t been able to get their staff vaccinated,” said Sue Gilroy.
“Through no fault of our own we can’t get vaccinated, even though they want to get vaccinated, there is no hesitancy, they truly want to but there is no access to vaccinations and that’s been a problem for weeks and weeks and weeks,” she said.
“I’ve already had one big company in town give me a call saying they won’t be able to open on freedom day, because 62 percent of their staff aren’t double vaxxed and they want to know where they can get vaccinations.
“He even said he was willing to drive them to Sydney or Newcastle and couldn’t even get them done there.
I’ve had calls from the mining industry who are desperate to get their people vaccinated and can you imagine if we had an outbreak in the mining industry it would be catastrophic for our economy, why aren’t they being prioritised?
“It’s inequality at its best, we are being penalised for something that’s completely outside of our control,” said Sue Gilroy.
Businesses required to do their own contact tracing
The government also revealed their contact tracing has become overwhelmed and they are now asking businesses to do contact tracing when they become a contact venue. Read: Less information and changes to contact tracing.
As a former nurse, Sue said it can be difficult having health conversations with people and it was unfair to place this on business owners.
“Business owners are not trained to do contact tracing, or to have those conversations with people that they may be a close contact and what they need to do,” said Sue Gilroy.
“There can be a lot of fear both for the business owner and the customers or staff they are calling and it’s not fair on anyone,” she said.
“And how can businesses take that amount of time to then do contact tracing and contact everyone?” Sue Gilroy questioned.
Sue Gilroy encourages local businesses to call the Chamber, as they try to secure more vaccines for the community and be a voice for local businesses during the pandemic.