Sunday, November 28

‘So many unknowns’: companies respond to the idea of ​​the vaccine passport


As we look to the future of New Zealand’s Covid-19 response, there is increasing talk about how companies will deal with mixing the vaccinated with the unvaccinated.

The New Zealand 'vaccine passport' is likely to be a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code.

The New Zealand ‘vaccine passport’ is likely to be a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code.
Photo: 123rf

It may be a vaccine passport, but there are doubts about its legality and who would be responsible: the government or companies.

However, some of the big names in Wellington’s hotel scene are on the fence. The idea has been floating around for months.

Bronwyn Kelly, co-owner of the Maranui Cafe and Queen Sally’s Diamond Deli in Lyall Bay would have no problem with the government requiring a vaccination passport.

“I mean you want to do what’s best for people.”

But the thought of having to enforce it herself left her with more questions, and she didn’t think many people in the hospitality industry would agree to that.

She also thought her staff were “under so much stress anyway” that having to monitor clients’ vaccine passports would take it to a “whole new level.”

“And how do you tell a family that could enter that they cannot enter if their daughter is not vaccinated?

“There will be many unknowns.”

Kelly wanted to see more light at the end of the tunnel for businesses.

“Right now it feels a lot like … you never know what the government is going to decide and if we can get vaccinated enough,” he said.

“I mean, what does the future hold for us?”

Matt McLaughlin, who owns businesses like Panhead Tory Street and Mustache Bar in the city’s entertainment district, had a similar mindset.

“It’s a very difficult conversation to have.”

He acknowledged that a vaccine passport would likely be fraught with legal hurdles for officials if required, but said it would make things easier for companies.

McLaughlin thought that presenting a Covid-19 recovery roadmap could help companies get on with the idea.

“We do not know if we will close next week, we do not know if we can order stock, we do not know if we will be able to employ more personnel.

“We really are in no man’s land.”

He said they were in “complete limbo” as an industry and that it would be “really difficult to do when we don’t know what the bigger picture will be like.”

Epic Hospitality Director Greig Wilson supported the idea of ​​a vaccine passport, whether it is mandatory or not.

He was in favor of making it mandatory, but was willing to implement it himself in his chain of bars on Courtenay Place and Dixon Street, the heart of Wellington’s nightlife.

“Everyone has to contribute their grain of sand, otherwise, we are going to be going around in circles and Covid is going to appear throughout the country and stop the country.”

Even if vaccine passports were not mandatory, he would like the government to lend a hand to those who want it, such as a system or application that can be shown to staff to facilitate the application of vaccine passports.

“That could work.”

Vaccine passport or not, there was one thing all these hospitality chiefs agreed on: They wanted vaccination rates to keep increasing so they could get a better picture of the future.


www.rnz.co.nz

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