As South Australia opens its eastern borders to double-vaccinated visitors, many companies are angry that the buck stops with them when it comes to vaccination obligations, whilst others just want greater clarity.
So far, the state government has required immunisation for persons working in hospitals, schools, preschools, early childhood centers, elderly care facilities, and SA Police.
Taxi and ride-hailing drivers at Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Parafield, and Port Lincoln airports were added to the mandatory list yesterday.
In other sectors, the choice to require staff and consumers to be vaccinated is left up to the owner.
According to David Armstrong of Goodwood Quality Meats, the government has to offer greater clarification to company owners about obligations and what would happen if there were outbreaks.
Mr Armstrong said that when it comes to workers and if COVID comes into our organisation — I've done a lot of reading into it, and he don't seem to be able to find a clear-cut solution to the challenges we're facing.
If COVID enters the firm via an employee, they may have to shut for two weeks for a thorough cleaning.
However, if everyone gets immunised twice, they will trade as usual.
Greg Rosenbauer, the proprietor of Unley Physiotherapy, took the decision to demand all customers above the age of 12 to produce proof of double vaccination.
He said that they want to safeguard the health of all of our customers and all of our employees as a priority.
He added that they will need patients and caregivers, as well as anybody who joins the office, to provide proof that they have [been double-vaccinated].
Mr Rosenbauer, on the other hand, said that he wished to find a method to continue to assist unvaccinated customers.
They will meet with them one-on-one to explore how they can best continue to assist them, whether via telehealth or after-hours sessions... Perhaps it may be that a home-visit arrangement is the greatest approach to help them.
Mr Rosenbauer said that he had talked with other physiotherapy clinic operators in Adelaide and that they all had "different opinions" on how to effectively satisfy the directive criteria.
He said that it’s a little challenging for them, especially in such a job where you're often in a tiny room with someone for a lengthy amount of time.
It is quite difficult for them to achieve the requirements if one of the customers is a favorable case and they do not subsequently acquire a close relationship.
That's where seeing unvaccinated clients in the clinic becomes really problematic for them, since they really can't minimise the possibility of them being labeled close contacts.
Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, St Andrew's Hospital in Adelaide has barred all unvaccinated visitors, including those under the age of 12 who are ineligible for vaccination.
The passenger transportation industry responds
By Thursday, point-to-point taxi drivers, rideshare operators, and chauffeurs must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination and booked a reservation for a second.
By December 12, all other passenger transport drivers must have received at least one dosage.
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said that they are aware that they will be picking up international arrivals from the airport and transporting them to their place of quarantine, as well as picking up vulnerable people who rely heavily on that service to attend doctor's appointments, supermarkets, and other essential services.
The Transport Workers Union has asked for an emergency meeting with the state administration to discuss the mandate.
The union's national president and SA chapter secretary, Ian Smith, said there had been a lack of engagement and that the government should compensate drivers who required time off to be vaccinated.
He added that in the end, the mandate was established by the government, and the government, in our opinion, should be paying for the procedure for people, number one, to be vaccinated, and number two, if they experience any bad effects, they should be reimbursed for it.
Nas Yazdani, an Uber driver, said yesterday at Adelaide Airport that he welcomed the requirement for ride-hailing drivers.
He said that it’s beneficial to our health and the community.
Tilaye Teketel, another rideshare driver, agreed with the demand.
He said that it’s OK. He’s completely immunised and believes that everything will be alright.
More vaccination requirements are likely
Vaccine regulations may have an impact on other businesses, according to the police commissioner.
Commissioner Stevens said that he is aware that some organisations are being considered for obligatory vaccinations based on the crucial nature of the services they offer.
However, for the time being, Commissioner Stevens said that it was up to business owners to determine who they were "willing to welcome as customers."
He added how tightly they want to do it is up to them.
Some industries, such as hospitality and the arts, want the state government to extend vaccine mandates to their employees.
Premier Steven Marshall, on the other hand, has ruled out a blanket approach.
Mr Marshall said that the fact is that there are those individuals who want the government to take on the duty of making everything obligatory.
There are a lot of other workers that don't want it.
Some industries are now experiencing talent shortages. If it is made necessary for all South Australian employees, jobs will be lost and those skills will be lost, and in many areas, it would weaken their ability to trade.