November 22, 2021
by Anne Miller
There seems to be a lot of confusion in the South Burnett about what will happen when Queensland hits its 80 per cent double-dose COVID-19 vaccination milestone.
There is a raft of local businesses boasting on Facebook that they will “welcome all” or “not discriminate” when incoming restrictions come into force.
But the fact is MOST of them – including many of those making the loudest noise on social media – are not actually affected by these restrictions!
It appears to be simply a marketing ploy designed to appeal to vaccine-hesitant and vaccine-resistant local residents – and probably send a not-so-subtle message that the business owner believes vaccination (and the pandemic) is unimportant.
There has been a whole Facebook group set up to allow these South Burnett businesses to boast.
So what will actually – by law – be not available to unvaccinated people (ie. people who have refused to be vaccinated, not people exempt from vaccination)?
According to Queensland Health’s website, from December 17 – or earlier, when 80 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated – the following will apply.
Unvaccinated people will be unable to:
- Visit vulnerable settings, including hospitals, residential aged care, disability care accommodation and prisons. There will be some exceptions for medical treatment, end-of-life visits, childbirth and emergency situations
- Attend hospitality venues such as hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants or cafes
- Attend indoor entertainment venues such as nightclubs, live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres or cinemas
- Attend outdoor entertainment activities such as sporting stadiums, theme parks or tourism experience like reef excursions
- Attend festivals – either indoor or outdoor – such as musical festivals, folk festivals or arts festivals
- Attend Queensland Government-owned galleries, museums or libraries.
If anyone attending a wedding is unvaccinated, attendance will be restricted to a maximum of 20 people (weddings will have no capacity limit if only fully vaccinated people attend).
Funerals will NOT be limited to only vaccinated people. This is because a funeral sometimes occurs at short notice and often under difficult circumstances making it hard to ensure all attendees are vaccinated. However, funerals will still be required to comply with occupant density limits and caps on attendees to minimise the risk of transmission.
Queensland Health says these restrictions target leisure activities which are not essential for people to meet their basic needs but present a considerable risk to contributing to an outbreak in the community when the borders reopen.
However, unvaccinated people will still be able to access essential services and activities.
This means unvaccinated people will be able to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, newsagents and clothing stores, and participate in activities such as going to the gym for exercise.
Capacity restrictions may still be in place at these types of businesses.
So what does this mean in the South Burnett?
Unvaccinated people can still quite legally go to all the supermarkets, fruit shops, feed stores, chemist shops, newsagencies, newspaper offices, gyms, post offices and clothing stores that are proclaiming their “welcome” on social media. They can also hire carpenters, electricians, builders, buy tyres, have their air-conditioners checked etc etc etc.
Churches are also NOT named in the restricted list.
And the unvaccinated can still get takeaway food and alcohol – which is probably what most of them do now, anyway!
But they won’t be able to go to the pub, cinema, cafes or restaurants, or visit friends and family in jail or hospital (unless the visits are “end of life”).
They also won’t be welcome at music festivals, sports stadiums or the Queensland Art Gallery.
And both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will still need to check-in to venues.
This is not “fascism”. Nor is it “apartheid”. This is just the government encouraging people to be responsible citizens during a worldwide pandemic which has already killed more than 5 million people.
Government regulations put constraints on human behaviour – on “freedom” – all the time.
Motorists are told to wear seatbelts; drivers must not consume alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel; vehicles must be driven on the left-hand side of the road and stop at red lights; possessing child pornography is illegal; home owners can’t “protect” their houses with Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifles …
Workers in different industries have always had vaccine requirements, and many (perhaps most) anti-vaxxers have already received vaccinations against many things during their lives, ranging from polio and rubella to the ‘flu.
So what’s different here? Nothing, really.
These restrictions are for our own safety and the safety of others.
Of course, irresponsible people – either selfish, rebellious or simply stupid – appear in our courts all the time because they have broken laws.
The small number of restrictions on the small number of people who remain unvaccinated through choice are just another law.
So I wonder why some of our businesses are now adding their imprimatur – totally unnecessarily – to what appears to be a political campaign to encourage law-breaking?
What does this say about them?