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Byron Shire
June 24, 2024

Editorial: Clear as a muddled government

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Good news! Local police will not be actively enforcing the government’s Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 when it comes to business activity – see NSW govt’s Health Order lacks clarity.

Local Detective Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe’s statement should give local businesses and residents some relief as to what to expect in coming months.

Yet for the next few months, until December 1, when restrictions again ease as vaccination rates increase, it could well be a testing time for everyone.

Local Nationals MLC, Ben Franklin, posted a 670 word social media post about the latest changes for business owners, staff and customers.

Regarding the vague definition of ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent unvaccinated people entering certain business premises, he says, ‘Reasonable steps does not necessarily require business owners/staff to ask customers their vaccination status, although you are free to do so’.

‘Placing vaccination requirements posters and information at the entry of your premises, alongside Service NSW QR code check-in material, for example, may satisfy the “reasonable steps” requirement’.

He wrote ‘Basically, the only businesses/business premises that are impacted by [the] COVID Roadmap changes [and the “reasonable steps” requirements] are the following (ie. if your business/work is not in the below list then it continues to operate as per [previous COVID Safe requirements]:

  • Hospitality venues (eg. pubs, registered clubs, cafes, & restaurants)
  • Places of public worship
  • Entertainment facilities (eg. cinema, theatre, concert hall)
  • Public swimming pools
  • Retail premises, but not critical retail premises (I will list these further down in the post)
  • Indoor recreation facilities (eg. gyms, bowling alley, squash court)
  • Major recreation facilities (eg. showgrounds, racecourses, motor racing tracks)
  • Hairdressers
  • Beauty/tanning/waxing/nail salons
  • Tattoo/massage parlours
  • Properties operated by the National Trust or Historic House Trust
  • Gaming lounges & betting agencies
  • Auction houses
  • Markets that do not predominantly sell food
  • Information and education facilities

‘A person who works at any of the above businesses/business premises must have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (and must have their second scheduled by November 1). For customers, to enter any of the above businesses/business premises, from today, you must be fully vaccinated. You can, however, still access click and collect and takeaways at the above businesses/premises’.

So there will be no vaccination requirements for staff or customers in ‘chemists and pharmacies, garden centres and plant nurseries, hardware and building supplies, kiosks, landscaping material supplies, rural supplies, shops that predominantly sell food or drinks (eg butchers, bakeries, fruit shops & delicatessens, but does not include restaurants or cafes), shops that predominantly carry out repairs of mobile phones, shops that predominantly sell any of the following in the course of the normal operation of the shop: (i) office supplies, (ii) pet supplies, (iii) newspapers, magazines or stationery, (iv) alcohol, (v) maternity or baby supplies and (vi) medical or pharmaceutical supplies, supermarkets & grocery shops, timber yards’, and ‘vehicle hire premises, but not the premises at which vehicles are sold’.

While Ben Franklin’s helpful advice may clear some of the confusion his own government has created, he represents a government that has eroded the ability of society to be resilient in such times of pandemics.

The NSW Liberal-Nationals have been in power for 15 long years, where education and the public health system, just for starters, have been considerably eroded.

We rely on, and pay for these institutions to adequately educate our children about science and critical thinking.

We also rely on, and pay for a health system to be able to be resilient when it comes to health emergencies.

Stay safe everyone!

♦ News tips are welcome: [email protected]

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  1. As a single vaxxed person who just wants to get some important sewing supplies, I’ve been starting to think about the inherent sexism of seeing Bunnings as essential but not Spotlight. Hardware is essential but not the traditionally more feminine wares associated with the ‘softer’ side of home maintenance. Rather typical of the LNP, this sort of old-fashioned sexism.


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