Covid-19 vaccine certificate is ‘indirect vaccine mandate’ for staff, lawyer says



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Staff working in hotels, events and “close contact” businesses will need to be vaccinated when a new scheme of vaccination certificates for guests is introduced, a health and safety lawyer said.

The government unveiled its new Covid-19 protection framework on Friday that uses a traffic light system to try to manage the spread of Covid-19.

At all levels, businesses, retail stores and public establishments will generally be able to remain open to people who have been vaccinated, but under red and orange lights, unvaccinated customers will not be allowed into some businesses.

Olivia Lund, health and safety expert and partner at law firm Duncan Cotterill, said the requirement would amount to an “indirect vaccine mandate” for staff at some companies.

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She said most hospitality, event and “close contact” business owners would like to operate in the future without restrictions and to do so, they would have to use vaccination certificates.

Local businesses are services that require close personal contact, such as hairdressers and home help providers.

Customers must show proof of vaccination if they wish to enter a hospitality business under the new framework.

marion van dijk / stuff

Customers must show proof of vaccination if they wish to enter a hospitality business under the new framework.

She said if clients were to be vaccinated, it would make sense for the staff to be as well.

“Is it the same rule for the worker when he enters the premises, does he need to scan as a member of the public would? You would guess.

The health ministry said it is actively considering how the framework will affect vaccination requirements for workers and expects to provide more clarity in the coming weeks.

According to Olivia Lund, partner of Duncan Cotterill, requiring that customers of certain companies be vaccinated amounts to an indirect vaccine mandate for employees.

Provided

According to Olivia Lund, partner of Duncan Cotterill, requiring that customers of certain companies be vaccinated amounts to an indirect vaccine mandate for employees.

Lund said companies were wondering to what extent the rules on vaccine certificates would apply.

For example, would an unvaccinated courier driver be able to deliver goods to a business using a vaccination certificate in an orange or red frame?

“It can be argued that for these workers, if they have to enter these premises, the same rule should really apply, otherwise it makes it less efficient and the rule becomes redundant.”

Lund said the government should further clarify companies in these sectors to ensure the effectiveness of the rules.

Some private and public sector workforces already have immunization mandates for staff, including high-risk health and disability workers, frontier workers, prison staff, and teachers and support staff in the health sector. education.

Sanford, Air New Zealand and Auckland Airport have also introduced vaccination warrants. The countdown is “actively considering” whether to require staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

The government agency Worksafe recently launched a risk assessment tool that allows employers to decide whether their staff should be vaccinated.

A survey of more than 500 New Zealand small and medium-sized businesses by accounting software company MYOB showed that 78% encouraged their staff to get vaccinated against Covid-19, while 17% said they did not did not encourage their staff.

In the same survey, 51% said they would not ask customers or visitors to their workplace to show proof of vaccination upon entry.

More than a quarter said they would ask for proof and 21 percent said they didn’t know.

The investigation was conducted before the government released its Covid-19 framework, which will make business much more restrictive for companies that do not use a vaccine certificate.

MYOB’s customer service chief Jo Tozer said the 21% of business owners who were unsure whether they would ask for proof of immunization status may change in the coming months after the government framework is released.

“Especially with regard to subsequent decisions about how their use might impact eligibility for financial support.”

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Friday that one of the issues the government was working on was what to do in terms of companies that decided not to be part of the vaccine certificate scheme.

“If we were to use the current settings based on revenue drops, we might end up supporting them, but not the ones that use certificates,” said Robertson.

“I personally prefer that no payment be made available to companies that should have a vaccination certificate scheme but choose not to, but it requires additional work to be operational.”

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