Hotel industry supports push for vaccine mandate | The Canberra Times

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Some Canberra hotels have taken it upon themselves to insist that guests have proof of vaccination, despite the government resisting calls for a vaccination mandate. The East Hotel requires guests to be vaccinated to visit its residence, restaurant and bar, with staff checking a vaccination certificate before allowing guests to enter. Frontier staff at another hotel told The Canberra Times that they had asked guests for vaccine proof, instead. corporate policy for fear of catching the virus. Australian Hotels Association general manager ACT Anthony Brierley said residents of NSW and Victoria must be fully vaccinated to enter a hotel in their home jurisdiction, so it felt like the same rules apply when they visit Canberra. “Hotels have a unique risk profile because they welcome guests from other less vaccinated states,” Brierley said. “In forcing vaccination as a condition of entry, hotels like the East are keeping Canberra safe from the risk of the virus being invaded by less vaccinated parts of Australia.” Forrest Hotel and Apartments director Dorothy Barclay said they would like all guests to be doubly vaccinated, but without a warrant in the ACT asking patrons for proof was difficult. “People have different circumstances, but we encourage people to be doubly vaccinated so that we can all take care of each other,” she said. The general manager of the East Hotel, Todd Handy, said they required all employees to have at least one shot before returning to work and their policy with guests after confinement was the same. Mr Handy said the safety of staff, guests and the wider community was the main driver for the decision. The economic loss associated with becoming an exhibit was another major factor, he said. Mr Handy said that after weeks of confinement having to cancel more shifts and canceling future bookings is too great a risk to take. “We just didn’t want to do that to the employees again and we didn’t want to do it again to the business,” Mr. Handy said. With local visitors making up a significant proportion of visitors to Joe’s and Agostini’s, staff report that Canberra residents are responding to the demand as the safest they have felt eating out in weeks. “We’ve only had a few people get a little upset or say how disappointed they are, but that tells us our policy works because we don’t want to risk anyone,” Mr Handy said. The East Hotel allowed guests with vaccine exemptions to enter the venue, a policy Mr Brierley said would prevent venues from passing the mark. He said sites are not in danger of violating discriminatory laws by seeking proof of vaccine because vaccine status was not a “protected attribute” under the Discrimination Act 1991. Mr Brierly said approved sites, including hotels, have a legal responsibility to protect staff and employers of the risks presented by COVID-19. MORE NEWS FROM COVID-19: “A licensed site has the right to fulfill these legal responsibilities by refusing admission to unvaccinated employers. This is the most effective way to keep staff and employers safe,” he said. Hotel chains with sites across jurisdictions reportedly follow local guidelines rather than requiring vaccine passports through their businesses. IHG Hotels and Resorts, which includes Crowne Plaza, the Holiday Inn and InterContinental has not launched a mandate in Canberra. A spokesman said they followed all government guidelines, including ACT government’s COVID security plan. “IHG does not require vaccinations for guests or employees at any of our hotels in Australia except where it is required by government,” a spokesman said. Accor Group, which includes the Mercure, Ibis, Mantra and Novotel hotels in Canberra, has also stopped introducing a mandate. A spokesman said in the interest of public safety, Accor is following the bloodlines and recommendations made by local health authorities. “We urge all team members and members of the public to be vaccinated,” the spokesman said. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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