Last chance for essential vaccine in the workplace details for Queensland to get back to business
There are four days to go before Queensland businesses enter their first day of new COVID trading conditions from December 17 and time is running out for them to prepare for the new rules and the next steps in their long-term recovery.
Businesses still need certainty on what the next vaccine milestone is, when it’s expected to be achieved and what impact it will have on businesses.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Policy and Advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan said she expected the new rules from Friday would disproportionately impact small businesses and especially those in regional areas and in an already tight labor market.
“Businesses who have had to navigate the process of potentially standing down or dismissing unvaccinated staff are concerned it may all be for a potentially short-lived mandate,” Ms Rohan said.
“Businesses are very concerned conditions and rules for them, their staff and customers will change again when the state reaches the next vaccination milestone, whatever and whenever that may be. Many have worked really hard to make sure they’re ready for December 17 and after the state borders re-open today, some at great expense to their budget and workforce, to make sure they comply with new rules.
"For those businesses to be forced to adapt to new rules or changes in rules just when they’ve been able to get back to business will be costly, frustrating and for some, devastating.
“Businesses are desperate to know what the next vaccine milestone will be, when it’s expected to be achieved and what it means for them."
Ms Rohan said new guidelines indicating from 1 January 2022 businesses or venues listed as exposure sites would be 'extremely unlikely' to be closed when a positive case was detected and would be able to undertake routine cleaning to minimise disruption were a positive sign for uncertain businesses.
It was among the list of essential details CCIQ had been advocating for since November.
Ms Rohan said while today was an important day for the Queensland economy, there was still work to do between government and business for the economy to recover long-term.
“We have been saying for months without access to information on these key issues, impacted businesses will struggle to plan for the future beyond borders re-opening today, beyond December 17 rule changes and beyond the Christmas period." Ms Rohan said.
“We welcomed the availability of the public health and social measures linked to vaccination status direction last week which was something we had been advocating for since these new rules were announced more than a month ago."
Ms Rohan said for close to two years CCIQ and the network of chambers across Queensland had been warning of the potential damage of inaction on COVID business challenges to the economy, business sector and the livelihoods of people dependent on those business.
“Many of the issues we raised on behalf of businesses were addressed and the sector was given access to resources, support, incentives and protection to allow them to continue doing business in Queensland, both now and in the future,” Ms Rohan said.
“It meant business had access to $2.3 billion in COVID relief grants, loans, tax relief and fee waivers and deferrals and directions and information were provided to allow businesses to plan their immediate and long-term recovery as business conditions continued to change.
“This week is a pivotal time in business’ long-term recovery and we know without certainty, their ability to get back to business will be impacted.
“There’s four days left before these new rules come into force for some business but key issues still need to be addressed.”
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