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Cafe, retail staff are not 'compliance cops', says chamber president

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Ipswich retail and hospitality businesses are calling for more clarity around new rules for unvaccinated customers from next month.

When 80 per cent of Queenslanders are fully vaccinated, many non-essential businesses and venues will be able to return to operating at full capacity, but there will be restrictions on people who are not fully vaxxed.

This includes pubs, clubs, cafes, cinemas and restaurants 

There is the added threat of massive fines if staff and patrons do not comply.

There are fines of $1,378 for individuals and $6,892 for businesses which fail to comply with the public health directions.

But Ipswich Chamber of Commerce president Phillip Bell says staff at cafes and restaurants should not be made to enforce the rules. 

"It's just important to recognise that this level of compliance at the coalface is tough for business to bear," he says.

"It's likely to be an additional impost and cost.

"We can't force business people into being our compliance cops in terms of driving this agenda forward."

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has previously said people deserved to know they were safe when visiting venues.

“I think people want to be able to go to a music festival or a stadium or a cafe or restaurant and know the people around them are fully vaccinated and it’s safe for their family to go to these venues,” she says.

But Mr Bell says while most businesses understand why the new rules are being put in place, he believes more answers are needed to understand how it will work. 

He argues that small businesses in particular have already borne the heavy cost of the two-year pandemic.

"This is a prime example where businesses are being squeezed in a compliance conversation," he says.

"The reality is this sector, in particular hospitality and retail, need government support and community support."

 

A Queensland Police Service spokesperson says police will work closely with businesses and the community to ensure everyone is aware of, and following, the new public health direction.

“We encourage businesses to clearly display the new rules to help inform their customers,” the spokesperson says.

“While we do not expect business owners and employees to act as police, we do ask that they understand and abide by their obligations."