EXPLAINED: unvaccinated restrictions including huge fines for businesses that don’t ask for proof

Covid-19

Jereme Lane

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced what many have been expecting for some time; proof of double vaccination will be required to enter non-essential businesses after 17 December.


That is the date that Queensland is set to ease border restrictions for interstate travel and it is the date when the state government expects at least 80 percent of Queenslanders, 16 years and older, to be double vaccinated.

As of Monday, Douglas Shire is currently at 66.3 percent fully vaccinated, whilst the first dose vaccination rate of 80 percent is expected to be achieved sometime this week.

Large fines for non-compliance

Anyone that refuses to comply with a public health order can face a large fine and this extends to proof of vaccination. The onus will be on the business to ask for evidence of vaccination at the time of check-in and failure to do so could be punished with fines of $1378 for an individual and $6,892 for a business.

“While we do not expect business owners and employees to act as police, we do ask that they understand and abide by their obligations,” a spokesperson for Queensland Police Service told Newsport.

Port Douglas Police Sergeant, Damien Meadows, said that while they have not received any formal directives yet there has been some correspondence and he confirmed the rules announced by the Premier yesterday will be in place for Port Douglas once the borders open.

“We don’t want to be chasing people for doing the wrong thing, but we will have a clear directive from the Minister and we intend to enforce that directive. We ask please that everyone complies with the rules otherwise you will be fined,” Sgt Meadows told Newsport.

Masks

Another point of recent speculation was whether masks would be required with many in the community expecting that Douglas Shire would be required to wear masks after borders reopened.

The premier confirmed however that mask wearing was about to end, once the state achieved 80 percent first dose vaccination.

After this milestone is reached, masks will be only required on a case by case basis for individual Local Government Areas.

Check in

People will still need to check-in to venues. This is important to support contact tracing if there is a case at a venue. Vaccinated people can still carry the virus, although the risk is reduced.

Staff vaccinations

The Premier also outlined that vaccination requirements extend to staff as well. This means that people who work in a non-essential capacity, such as bar, cafe and restaurant staff, will be required to be fully-vaccinated before they can work.

One hospitality staff manager – who wished to remain anonymous – told Newsport, “As far as we can tell, come 17 December every single person that walks through the door will have to show proof of vaccination. That includes patrons, staff, contractors, everyone.”

Wedding exception

Weddings are exempt from the restrictions provided there are less than 20 people present. Any wedding with over 20 people will require everyone present – including bridal party, guests and officials – to show proof of vaccinations.

Restrictions for unvaccinated people

When Queensland hits the target of 80 percent fully vaccinated (two doses), unvaccinated people will be unable to:

  • Visit vulnerable settings, including hospitals, residential aged care, disability care accommodation, and prisons. There will be some exceptions for medical treatment, end-of-life visits, childbirth and emergency situations.
  • Attend hospitality venues such as hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants or cafes.
  • Attend indoor entertainment venues such as nightclubs, live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres or cinemas.
  • Attend outdoor entertainment activities such as sporting stadiums or theme parks.
  • Attend festivals – either indoor or outdoor – such as musical festivals, folk festivals or arts festivals.
  • Attend Queensland Government owned galleries, museums or libraries.

According to a statement from Queensland Health, “these restrictions target non-essential leisure activities including attending hospitality venues (hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants and cafes) and entertainment venues (nightclubs, live music venues, stadiums, theatres, cinemas and festivals).”

Government stressed that these activities are not essential for people to meet their basic needs, but present a considerable risk of contributing to an outbreak in our community when our borders reopen.

For the full list of restrictions including FAQs please visit the Queensland Health website.

  


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