COVID-19 chaos continues for small businesses

17 November 2021

Nick Dametto MP.

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto will this week prioritise ensuring Brisbane-based decision-makers are well-aware of the possibly disastrous impacts their new COVID-19 restrictions targeting the “unvaccinated” will have on regional Queensland businesses.

Queensland is fast approaching 80 per cent full vaccination, and with new rules coming into play from the 17th of December unvaccinated people will be unable to visit vulnerable setting, hospitality venues, indoor entertainment ventures, outdoor entertainment activities, festivals or Queensland Government owned galleries, museums, or libraries.[1]

Mr Dametto said he feared some businesses would be forced to close the doors or drastically reduce operating hours to cope with losing staff who for a multitude of reasons don’t feel comfortable getting the vaccine.

“I’ve spoken with many small business owners in my electorate, and they estimate that there would be at least one or two employees in most businesses that will be in this position,” he said.

“Training employees requires a significant amount of time and effort for business owners and if these restrictions go ahead this will mean some will be forced to lay off and replace cornerstone staff like management to persons with niche skill sets.

“We’re coming into the craziest time of year; consumer confidence is up, and business owners are now left with the task of gearing up for Christmas and the holiday season with the prospect of losing up to 20 per cent of their staff. Sacking people a week before Christmas is a low blow even for this Government.

“Also, where are they going to find another employee to stand at the door and physically check every single customer’s COVID-19 proof of vaccination certification, these rules have clearly been put together by someone who’s never run a cafe or restaurant.

“The Queensland Government needs to recognise these new rules, in practical terms isn’t going to work.

“Businesses will be forced to play enforcement officer for the Queensland Government’s controversial decision and will need manage the ramifications of refusing entry to unvaccinated Queenslanders.

“Queensland Health have made it clear that police will support businesses with the new restrictions for unvaccinated, but in reality, we know QPS is already stretched for resources.

“In a month, or potentially less, these restrictions will commence and all we have been provided with is a one-page document which briefly outlines venues that the unvaccinated Queenslanders will be refused entry, more information is needed. If people don’t understand the rules, I think you will find they simply won’t follow them.

“If the Government wants businesses to assist with managing these restrictions, then they should be supported with clear and detailed information.”

Greg Baker owner of Bottle Tree Distillery fears that the restrictions for unvaccinated Queenslanders will make his business operations nearly impossible.

“We are just around the corner from Christmas, I would usually be attending community events and markets to sell products, with these new restrictions for the unvaccinated I may not be able to attend,” he said.

“This affects my livelihood and I’m not sure what the future will hold for our business.

“I have friends in the hospitality industry that are in the same boat. They have staff that don’t feel comfortable getting the vaccination and they will soon be unemployed.

“Many industries are already facing a worker shortage, and this is only going to add to the problem.

“We produced hand sanitiser for North Queensland when the outbreak occurred and as soon as imports came back in, we were dropped. It certainly doesn’t feel like we are getting supported for our efforts.”



Nick Dametto MP