The companies are asking the government for more clarity on how they will be affected by the launch of a vaccine certificate for home use.
Starting in November, the public will be able to download or print their vaccine certificate that contains a QR code.
The government has confirmed that they will be required at large and high-risk events such as festivals, while they will not be needed to access essential services.
Cabinet is working to determine how widely they will be used and more information will be provided in a few weeks.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there are other critical areas where the government still needs to clarify the details.
This includes the rules for individual companies that want to use the certificate to reject customers.
“Areas where we would probably enforce those higher risk environments … How do we create a legal framework where we have not mandated but someone wants to use it? How do we create a legal framework for them to do so if it is within certain parameters?
“And areas where it cannot be used. So there are some areas where we would like to be very explicit, that essential services should never be withheld: food, access to health services, pharmacies, etc.”
The government is talking to the hotel industry, but some cafes and restaurants have already publicly stated that they do not want to ban unvaccinated customers or staff.
Greg Harford of Retail NZ said mandatory use seems unlikely in his industry, although there are companies who like the idea.
There are also those who would fight to enforce a ban, so he would like to give them a choice.
“The most important thing the government can do to help in this space is to explicitly give companies the power to require their staff to be vaccinated, if the employer believes it is necessary. That could also extend to customers.
“The important thing is that each company can make its own decisions on these issues.”
He also wanted much clearer details on what will be considered an essential service that unvaccinated people cannot refuse.
“There has been significant confusion about what constitutes an essential product at various alert levels. I think that as long as the government is clear about what it defines as essential for the purposes of vaccination certificates, that will help solve some of those problems.”
Gray Power concerned about technological problems
Gray Power’s Jo Miller is concerned for those who may find it difficult to use technology to download a certificate.
“I think the government has a responsibility to make sure, even if they ask for assistance or help to do so, but to make it easier for that kind of people to access it so that they feel free to go out and about and that if they want to go to summer events with their family they can go comfortably. “
There is some reassurance on the part of Dr. Andrew Chen, an expert in digital technology.
He said the certificate system was primarily paper-based with an app as an add-on for convenience.
“The app is just for convenience, as you have one less sheet of paper to go. Hopefully that won’t exclude too many people.
“Anyone who needs a certificate will be able to hopefully go to a library or the Citizen’s Advice Office or go find a family member who can help them register for My Covid Record and then generate and print a certificate themselves. if you need it. “
But he worries what all this means for those who have legitimate medical reasons for not being vaccinated.
“It may be safer for an immunosuppressed person, for example, not to go to a festival, but you want to make sure that you can still participate in society and not live in a second social class. So we need to hear a little more about how will manage the system for those people. “
The government is ready to release more details in the coming weeks.