An award-winning Brisbane cafe owner has said that he won’t comply with the Queensland government’s new rules that ban unvaccinated people from cafes and almost every kind of business except essential services like supermarkets from Dec. 17.
“What has this world come to?” Phillip Di Bella said in a video posted on LinkedIn. “Is it something that we’re prepared to let happen, is it?”
Di Bella, who owns Australia’s largest speciality coffee retailer, said the issue for him wasn’t about the vaccines but about mandating that people must get vaccinated or they’ll have less “freedoms” and be locked out of venues.
“It won’t be happening in my venue, I can assure you, The Coffee Commune will not discriminate,” he said, referring to his cafe in Bowen Hills.
“You want to be vaccinated. You be vaccinated; if you don’t, you don’t. You take the health precautions that you need for yourself,” he said.
While announcing the new measures, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk framed the new rules as a measure that allows fully vaccinated Queenslanders to “keep your freedoms.”
The new restrictions start from Dec. 17, when the state is due to reopen its borders, or once 80 percent of Queenslanders aged over 16 are fully vaccinated—whichever comes first.
Palaszczuk, on Nov. 10, described the new measures as a “reward” for Queenslanders to return their lives to normal.
“People who are fully vaccinated have absolutely stepped up and done the right thing, and you deserve to keep your freedoms,” she told reporters in Brisbane.
The premier said the new rules were both a reward for the fully vaccinated as well as a precaution for when the borders reopen.
“This pandemic has been a long, hard road,” Palaszczuk said.
“Soon, our borders will open, and COVID will be in our communities.
“This is about keeping our freedoms.”
But Di Bella, who was recently named Business Person of the Year at the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards, lamented what he saw as a loss of human rights.
“This is about human rights. This is about dictatorship,” he said. “Politicians work for the people.
“If you support them mandating something like this … that you have your human rights taken away on where you can eat, where you can drink, where you can associate, where you can go, based on whether you are vaccinated or not, then you’ve got rocks in your head, and this country has gone mad,” he said.
The New Rules
The new rules come into effect from Dec. 17 and will mean that only customers and staff who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit or work at stadiums, pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars, and more.
Police will also enforce the new laws at venues and hand out fines to people who are unvaccinated.
Visitors to hospitals and aged care facilities will also need to be fully vaccinated.
The same rules apply to entertainment venues featuring live music and karaoke bars, as well as both indoor and outdoor music festivals, and it extends to performers. It also includes cinemas.
This comes as Queensland is expected to reach the threshold of having 80 percent of its residents with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine sometime this week.
At that point, the state will scrap mask mandates.