A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Should retailers take a stand on vaxxed or unvaxxed in their shop?

There was noise on social media this week when some retailers said they would welcome anyone to their business, vaxxed or unvaxxed.

Vaccination is a vexed (sorry) issue. You’re damned if you speak up and damned if you do not.

I can understand retailers say they welcome anyone as it presents as inclusive. I can also understand retailers saying they prefer shoppers to be vaccinated, especially if they have family and loved-ones who for some reason cannot currently be vaccinated.

While I am not a fan of fence-sitting, I think with this issue we are better off saying nothing because saying something will attract fringe-dwellers and these folks can be demanding, nasty and distracting. I know a retailer who said anyone is welcome and then found tribes of fringe dwellers on their social media doorstep.

By all means have a view for yourself and those who work in the business as it is your workplace and you have obligations. However, I don’t see how that can extend to customers when the government itself does not have a view.

For sure I want everyone who can to be vaccinated, and urgently. If I was in government with the authority, I’d try and find a way to force that, for the health and safety of the community. I’d tie it to some funding or benefit, as happens already in child care. But, I am not in government and owning a shop does not give me the right to dictate what my customers believe, no matter how much I see my shop as my little kingdom.

So, for me, I’ll have my wish and hope that everyone who can gets vaccinated while, at the same time, serving anyone who comes into the shop. And, while doing this, the shop will remain clean, happy and as Covid safe as possible with masks, hand sanitiser, free face masks and the other steps in place that have kept us safe and trading so far.

Covid has a long long way to go I think. This vaxxed and unvaxxed can shop here pitch is another pot-hole on the road that, when we look back on it, will be a small distraction.

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  1. Shayne

    I totally agree. We will not be making any distinction between vaccinated or otherwise. Nor will we be making any public statements on the issue, as you say any declared stance will attract crazies either way. All my staff are fully vaccinated thats good enough for me. I don’t think too many small businesses could afford to turn away customers. Despite what state Govts are saying I dont believe its possible for hospitality or any business to open for vaccinated customers only. Too many grey areas. ” I have an exemption” etc. We see it every day with masks.

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    • Steve

      Yeah any mandated vaccination requirements is going to cause business owners problems. Just this week we took a stance on a couple of anti maskers. Turns out they were members of an out there minority group and well known to the police because of their views. Unfortunately after 4 days of harassment from this couple it culminated in the doors being closed and the police becoming involved . I am all for the health & safety of our staff & customers but there is only so much we can do.

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  2. Mark Fletcher

    The Premier, a couple of days ago, said retailers would play a role in checking vaccine status of anyone wanting to shop. Indicated there may be a tech component to it but had no details.

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