Business in Queensland Want Clarity Around Future COVID-19 Rules

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
December 14, 2021 Updated: December 14, 2021

Queensland’s peak body for business has called for more clarity from the state government about how the next vaccine milestone could impact trade with concern for regional small businesses that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 public health orders.

Businesses have only four more days to prepare for new government rules that mandate how they may trade amidst outbreaks and exposure to the virus from Dec. 17 after the state’s first 80 percent vaccination milestone was reached early.

Now the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has called on the government to provide businesses with details on what new rules might come into play once the state reaches its next milestone at 90 percent vaccination coverage.

Some of the new rules that come into effect from Friday were welcomed, such as businesses no longer being required to undergo costly deep cleans after being listed as an exposure site; with simple wipe downs being sufficient.

Other rules mean that unvaccinated staff need to be replaced and unvaccinated customers turned away. Business operators must also display signage to communicate the new rules to patrons.

Amanda Rohan, policy and advocacy general manager at CCIQ, has said that small businesses, especially in regional areas, would be disproportionately impacted once the state’s new rules come into effect on Dec. 17.

“Businesses who have had to navigate the process of potentially standing down or dismissing unvaccinated staff are concerned it may all be for a potentially short-lived mandate,” Rohan said.

“Businesses are very concerned conditions and rules for them, their staff, and customers will change again when the state reaches the next vaccination milestone, whatever and whenever that may be.”

Rohan said many businesses spent a lot of money and resources to be ready for the Dec. 17 deadline, without knowing how much more they’ll need to expend for the next milestone.

“For those businesses to be forced to adapt to new rules or changes in rules just when they’ve been able to get back to business will be costly, frustrating and for some, devastating.

“Businesses are desperate to know what the next vaccine milestone will be, when it’s expected to be achieved and what it means for them,” she said.

Queensland businesses have been supported through $2.3 billion worth of grants, loans, tax reliefs, fee waivers, payment deferrals to help them with short- and long-term recovery from the pandemic.

However, certainty around future rule changes is needed to help businesses prepare for the impact and get back to business, according to CCIQ.

Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au