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QR code technology will form the backbone of Victoria’s mandatory vaccination scheme for venues opening to increased numbers of patrons once the state reaches its 70 per cent full-dose target about October 26.
Premier Daniel Andrews said further details of the scheme – which will require patrons to prove their vaccination status to enter a range of hospitality venues and businesses – would be announced in coming weeks after results from regional trials are known.
Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media on Sunday.Credit:Paul Jeffers
“It’ll be a technology-based thing where the act of QR coding in will also determine whether you are vaccinated,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Sunday. “And it’ll be different for different venues, so some venues, for instance, where you have to pre-book, then you’ll be clearly informed – and I think most people know anyway – that in order to fill that booking, in order to take your seat at the table that you’ve reserved, you will need to go through a check-in process.”
Trials will be rolled out from October 11 in the Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, Pyrenees, Warrnambool, Buloke and East Gippsland municipalities, across hospitality, hairdressing, beauty services and tourism businesses, plus events including race meetings, community celebrations and concerts.
The results of those trials will help guide the emerging “vaccinated economy” across the rest of Victoria.
Mr Andrews last week announced about 1 million workers in a range of industries would be required to get fully vaccinated to continue working.
Currently, authorised workers have to carry a permit to work on site. Under the new requirements, workers with permits will also need to confirm they meet vaccine requirements.
It will be up to individuals to provide accurate vaccination information for their permits, but employers will also be required to enforce the new scheme. From October 15, employers will be prevented from allowing anyone who has not received their first vaccine, or made a booking to receive their first dose by October 22, to work on site.
Businesses will be required to ensure all workers on site carry a valid permit, and fines will be issued if an authorised officer visits a workplace and finds employees without a permit.
Following reports of patrons becoming abusive at workers trying to enforce existing COVID-19 rules, Mr Andrews said: “These are not rules that a business is putting on, these are rules that the Public Health Act, and the national plan, speaks to.
“So having a go at a business owner, for instance, for insisting on certain things wouldn’t make any sense because they’re only doing their job, they’re only fulfilling an important requirement to try and keep us all safe.”
At least one legal challenge to the mandate has been proposed, with Sydney law firm G&B Lawyers garnering more than $514,000 in donations for a mooted $10 million High Court battle. The firm has also flagged a Supreme Court of Victoria challenge to what it called “Chairman Dan’s” COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
Nathan Andrew Buckley from G&B Lawyers has acted in several unsuccessful cases against mandatory vaccinations, including a recent appeal against an unfair dismissal ruling on behalf of an aged-care centre receptionist who refused to get a flu jab. Mr Buckley is not associated with Nathan Buckley of Optic Lawyers.
Underscoring the state government’s commitment to vaccinations as a pathway out of lockdowns, two senior nurses from the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Northern Hospital were invited to the Premier’s press conference on Sunday to share their experiences of caring for COVID-19 patients.
Royal Melbourne Hospital intensive care nurse unit manager Michelle Spence described caring for a previously healthy man in his 30s, and begged Victorians to get vaccinated to avoid winding up in her section.
“The one thing you can do for you, for your family and your loved ones, and the one thing you can do for your healthcare system is to get vaccinated,” she said.
“Please do not wait. I know you’re frustrated. I know you’re scared. I know you’re over it, we’re all over it. But it’s time to absolutely make a difference.”
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