Council, businesses grappling with how to handle unvaccinated customers

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As many businesses grapple with how or if they’ll police unvaccinated residents, the region’s biggest organisation appears to be in the same boat.

During a recent Council meeting, Councillor Greg Davies questioned how Penrith Council plans to navigate opening its premises to unvaccinated people.

“I’m sure most people would have heard the [former] Premier this morning discussing the opening on October 11 with a further opening in December, or six-week wait for opening to unvaccinated people,” he said on September 27.

“She also mentioned at that conference that it will be up to the individual organisations if they don’t want to open to non-vaxxed people.

“It’s not what they wanted, they wanted some government mandate.”

Cr Davies requested an urgent response, saying it was a very important issue.

“I would like a memo to Councillors about what we are doing about it as far as our own Council premises, and I speak of swimming pools, rec centres etc,” he said.

“Will we be taking the position of ‘well, you’re not vaxxed, you don’t come in’? Or, will we just be opening up to anyone who wants to enter the place?”

When the Weekender reached out to Council to seek clarity on its position, a spokesman said it would “provide further details as they become available”.

“As the NSW Public Health Order is amended, Council continues to review the changes to understand and interpret the implications and opportunities each change provides in relation to returning to our ‘normal’ service delivery model,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Tricia Hitchen also raised the issue of outdoor dining.

“Given the reopening that we are having and the possibility that those people who are considered to be unvaccinated might be requested to eat outside, I’m wondering what Council officers are doing in relation to assisting all of the small shopping centres in our CBDs in helping outdoor seating for their existing cafes,” she said.

Council will be guided by the State Government’s roadmap, the spokesman said.

“The NSW Government’s roadmap will outline the requirements in terms of dining and vaccinations, from which Council will assist businesses to facilitate,” he said.

“Council will continue to work with the local business section on emerging challenges and opportunities by way of our weekly collaborative sessions.”

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