As the NSW population gets closer to reaching its 70 percent vaccination target, the NSW Government is planning to fine unvaccinated people who enter a business up $5,000 under new strict measures.
NSW State Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope told the media that discussions are currently taking place to decide what are the appropriate penalties to hand unvaccinated people who don’t abide by the rules.
Hospitality businesses, non-essential retail and hairdressers will be among the first lot of businesses who will be allowed to reopen once 70 percent of the eligible NSW population are fully vaccinated.
Once the 70 percent vaccinate target is reached, only fully vaccinated people will be permitted to access these businesses for anything other than takeaway or click and collect.
“Public health orders will make provision for the circumstances under which people will not be allowed to enter a business premises. As I understand it, they can be as much as $5,000 for a person entering in circumstances where they’re unvaccinated. I think it ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 depending upon the level of breach,” said NSW State Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope.
Mr. Tudehope said that the penalties will be confirmed as soon as public health orders on the restrictions are finalised.
The NSW Government says that although should be able to welcome unvaccinated customers in December, when the state hits its 90 per cent target, that businesses will still be able to make their own decisions about who to let through their doors.
In days before resigning from office NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that “onus will be on the individual to demonstrate that they are vaccinated”. The penalties we have in place still stand and most businesses have outstanding Covid safety plans which they stuck to but I also say to individuals, please know that the onus is on you to also maintain good social distancing [and a] healthy regard for the rules,” said Gladys Berejiklian.
NSW residents currently face $5,000 fines for breaching Covid-19 measures, which include breaking self-isolation restrictions or lying to a contact tracer.
Sydney residents who travel into regional NSW without a permit are also liable for $3,000 fines.
At the current rate it is expected for restrictions to begin easing from Monday 11 October, with fully vaccinated residents allowed access to restaurants, cafes, retail stores and hairdressers.
However, businesses will be required to monitor the vaccination status of customers and patrons. Fully vaccinated people can show proof via the Service NSW app.
NSW Businesses that serve unvaccinated customers in this stage of the state’s reopening could also be liable for fines of up to $55,000 under the impending health orders.
“There will be significant fines for breaches, there’s going to be a level of trust. But we accept that there’s always going to be a component of people that do the wrong thing and they don’t always remain compliant. That is why the settings are quite strict and quite conservative,” said NSW Digital Minister Victor Dominello.
Covid Disaster Payments Will End When Vaccination Rates Reach 80 Percent
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced Covid disaster payments for workers impacted by lockdowns will be discontinued once a state and territory reaches its 80 percent vaccination mark even if some regions end up being locked down again as a result of an outbreak.
This means that income support for individuals who lost work during lockdown will likely end in New South Wales by the middle of October and in Victoria by the start of November.
The Australian Government is looking to discontinue the payments after distributing over $9 billion in disaster payments to 2.16 million people since June 2021.
The Australian Government will begin to wind up the payments once vaccination rates reach 70 percent of the adult population. When a region reaches 70 percent, the payment will no longer be renewed automatically. To receive the payment, workers will be required to reapply for the payment to confirm their eligibility, provided they live in an area that remains a commonwealth-declared hotspot.
Once a state or territory reaches 80 percent fully vaccination of their over-16 population, the payment will step down over two weeks before ending, and no new applications will be allowed, even if an area goes back into lockdown.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has outlined that the payment was in line with easing restrictions as outlined in the plan signed off by national cabinet.
“As I have said before we can’t eliminate the virus, we need to learn to live with it in a Covid safe way. This means we must ease restrictions as vaccination rates hit 70-80% in accordance with the plan agreed at national cabinet,” said Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
“As restrictions ease the economy is well-positioned to bounce back. Today’s announcement about the winding down of the Covid disaster payment will provide businesses and households with the certainty they need to plan for the future,” continued Mr. Frydenberg.
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