Melbourne hospitality workers frustrated over vax rule

Hospitality workers say they have been caught off guard by the need for workers to be fully vaccinated for Melbourne’s opening on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

Melbourne hospitality industry claims it has been caught off guard by the requirement for staff to be fully vaccinated for the city’s opening on Friday.

Hospitality staff must be double jabbed in order to work when Melbourne’s lockdown lifts on Friday.

The rule was clarified by Victorian authorities, whose original health directions said hospitality workers must be fully vaccinated by November 26.

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But the change this week has caused confusion among the sector, with some venues unable to open because staff haven’t been vaccinated in time, according to the Australian Hotels Association.

AHA Victorian president David Canning. said it was “incredibly frustrating” and venues had been “blindsided”.

The hospitality sector says it’s been blindsided by the change. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Matray

“It is that confusion which has caused a lot of angst for our members who were planning to get open this week,” he told Nine.

“If (the government) said a month ago we needed to be double vaccinated by this Friday, then we would’ve complied with that.

“Hospitality has copped enough throughout this pandemic. There’s a staff shortage, there’s a skill shortage.”

Nanna’s Place restaurant owner Mark Mizzi said the timing was “not good”.

He said eight of his 20 staff had not been fully vaccinated.

“There’s not enough time to let us know that this is going to happen, and with a couple of days notice, it is not good,” he told Nine’s Today program.

“I heard it yesterday morning, 5.30 as I was driving in, and all I heard was basically there is a big rush for vaccinations to Friday for all hospitality workers and chefs and so forth to be able to operate on Friday and open businesses, and that just threw me right off.

“I said, ‘What’s going on? This is just destroying us’. Two years has been tough and it is making it harder for us now.

“Our team will be working double time, and we might not be able to do the full menu, but at least we might be able to open for some hours for some customers

“Daniel Andrews, I have an apron for you. Apparently, you are double vaccinated, I’ll see you tomorrow at 4am.”

Covid commander Jeroen Weimar says venues have had enough time to prepare for opening. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

However, Victorian Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimer was unapologetic, saying the industry had plenty of time to get ready.

“We’d expect that people who are now being asked to please come back into work are the first ones to have got themselves fully vaccinated so they can serve their customers,” he said.

“It will be bizarre to be in a world where we’ve said you can only be a customer at these places if you’re fully vaccinated but the staff don’t need to be vaccinated … that doesn’t really stack up.”


Melissa Iaria got her first newsroom job at the Footscray Mail and hasn’t looked back since. She cut her teeth at the Australian Associated Press where she spent years reporting on courts, politics, entertain… Read moreBecause you’re following Melissa Iaria, we think you might like more stories from this author. To manage which journalists and stories you see, go to manage following

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