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Top 4 wishlist for small businesses before re-opening borders for December

Queensland’s economy can start getting back to business when state borders re-open to vaccinated travellers in six weeks but businesses still need clear details on vaccination status rules and their new obligations under COVID trading if they are able to accelerate their long-term recovery.  

Key points: 

  1. Businesses need commitment to essential details before December 17 border opening  
  2. Details are needed on four things: Guidelines relating to any restrictions on business in relation to the vaccination status of staff and patrons, if the Queensland Government contact tracing app will integrate to include vaccination status, what will happen if a business is exposed to COVID and clear advice on Rapid Antigen Testing for businesses.  
  3. The onus for enforcement of COIVD rules must be on the public and not business that are operating as a COVID safe environment.  

Following consultation with small businesses across the state, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is calling for clearer details on restrictions relating to the vaccination status of staff and patrons, what will happen if a business premises is an exposure site and clear advice on Rapid Antigen Testing and contact tracing applicable to business. 

It comes after CCIQ had been advocating for a roadmap to re-opening Queensland since April with a State Government commitment to a December 17 date for fully-vaccinated travellers made in October.  

CCIQ Policy and Advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan said businesses were ready to make the most of the re-opening in time for Christmas but they needed essential details to ensure they were best placed for their long-term recovery. 

Ms Rohan said businesses needed four things: guidelines on any restrictions on business in relation to vaccination status of staff and patrons, if the Queensland Government contact tracing app would integrate to include vaccination status, what would happen if a business was exposed to COVID and clear advice on Rapid Antigen Testing for businesses.  

“We understand from the initial roadmap businesses will be allowed to choose if refusing entry to unvaccinated people is the best thing for their individual circumstances but they need to be provided the information now to make an informed decision,” Ms Rohan said.  

“They need detailed information and guidelines on how businesses can manage vaccines in the workplace if that’s what they choose to do.  

“It should not be up to businesses to guess which department to contact for this information  and support. 

“Equally, if there is any change to vaccine mandates for businesses, it’s essential there is genuine consultation between the State Government and the business sector first. 

“Businesses also want to know if the Queensland Government contact tracing app will be integrated to include vaccination status so they can easily check plus clear advice and guidelines on Rapid Antigen Testing, including when and how to use the test.” 

Ms Rohan said it was essential legal liability for non-compliance with COVID directions was continued to be placed on members of the public. 

“Business owners providing a COVID safe environment for staff and customers can not be liable for patrons not complying with contact tracing, vaccination or distancing rules,” Ms Rohan said. 

“It’s essential for businesses to be provided the necessary information as early as possible and supported in this changing environment as they have to adapt their operations again to meet new business as usual conditions.  

“They need these details now and not when or after the borders open so they have time to plan, make decisions, adapt and invest in their staff and resources so they are ready to get back to business.” 

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