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How will venues manage ‘no jab, no entry’ policies?

State Premiers and the Prime Minister are increasingly saying that vaccinations are the key to bringing Australia out of the lockdown cycle, but what does this mean for venues?

This week the Doherty Institute, which provides the Government with modeling to guide the national plan for reopening, said Australia will need to understand that it will not be possible to maintain a situation where there are no cases at all.

The Institute said: “There is light at the end of the tunnel – once we achieve 70-80 per cent vaccination we will see less transmission of COVID-19 and fewer people with serious illness, and therefore fewer hospitalisations and death. COVID-19 won’t go away but it will be easier to control in the future.”

In addition NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that on either Thursday or Friday she will announce some freedoms for double-vaccinated people after the state passed six million jabs, with over 60 per cent of the population in NSW now with at least one jab and over 30 per cent double vaccinated.

Unfortunately the speculation is these freedoms will not include hospitality, but as vaccination rates increase, the conversation will turn to how we re-open, who will be allowed to be out and about and will people need to show proof of vaccination to enter a venue.

Paul Hadida, General Manager of Australia at SevenRooms, told The Shout he thinks it will happen.

“We’ve seen many Australian businesses recently announce policies to mandate vaccinations for anyone intending to visit an office or premises, and US cities including New York and San Francisco have made it a blanket policy for any indoor dining or entertainment (e.g. cinemas or gyms).

“I think requiring proof of vaccination is a trend that will increase locally, too. Hospitality operators have a duty to ensure the health and safety of every diner and employee that enters a venue. To create a safe and memorable environment, it’s their prerogative to decide who can and cannot enter their premises, just as it is everyone’s prerogative to decide whether or not they receive the vaccine.

“Whether venues decide to make it their policy proactively, or it becomes a mandatory requirement from the Federal or State Government, it can be done seamlessly through the use of technology. SevenRooms makes the entire process seamless and straightforward, without detracting from the meaningful, memorable experiences associated when visiting a bar, restaurant or café.

“Long-term, the most successful venues will not just be those that serve the best food and drinks, but those who create safe, meaningful and memorable experiences that incentivise people to return. Venues that understand what their customers want will be those that succeed, and as we all learn to live in a post-pandemic world, that could increasingly mean proof of vaccination.”

In terms of how technology can help venues understand which customers have had a COVID vaccines before entering their premises, Paul added: “SevenRooms offers an extensive suite of tools aimed at helping operators not only navigate COVID health and safety, but also implement various communication touchpoints related to vaccine requirements. This includes communicating policies throughout the booking process, on the reservation check-out page, on booking confirmation emails, and in pre-arrival SMS communications.

“Additionally, with guest tags, restaurants can enable a ‘Vax Verified’ tag once a guest has shown proof of vaccination. This means restaurants don’t have to ask for proof every time that specific guest visits that venue or another venue within their hospitality group. Plus, using the tag they can segment their database and market to guests automatically with indoor-dining-specific promotions moving forward.

“In fact, from January to July 2021, we’ve seen a 500 per cent increase globally in the number of our venues looking for product solutions to communicate vaccine and other COVID-related requirements, and expect further growth over the coming months as Australia reopens again after lockdown.”

By Andy Young

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