Covid-19: Ben Fordham slams NSW plan to give unvaccinated freedom weeks after double-jabbed

Ben Fordham claims Gladys Berejiklian has thrown a legal ‘hand grenade’ to NSW’s small businesses by allowing unvaccinated residents back into pubs and restaurants by the end of the year. 

The state leader on Monday announced all residents regardless of their Covid vaccination status will likely be able to visit pubs, restaurants and retail stores from December 1 – only seven weeks after the double-jabbed receive the same freedoms.

From that date, it will be up to the business owners to decide if they want to ban the unvaccinated from entering.  

The 2GB radio host said hospitality venues would be exposed to a flood of legal challenges from anti-vaxxer customers when the rules are eased for everyone.

All NSW residents – regardless of their vaccination status – will be allowed back into pubs and restaurants by the end of the year, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday

‘The anti-vaxxers now have found an opening,’ he said ‘What’s the point in incentivising people to get vaccinated?’

‘If businesses decide to make the vaccine mandatory in their business – as they have the right to do – then they are exposing themselves to legal challenges from staff and customers.

‘Freedom fighters will set up GoFundMe pages – there will be pro bono lawyers saying ‘we’ll represent you’ but who is going to pay the legal fees of the little cafe owner?’ 

He said owners also now face a wave of civil lawsuits and wrongful death claims if their business becomes the site of a superspreader event.

‘It’s in the health and safety act black and white – you have to provide a safe environment,’ he said.

‘What happens if an vaccinated staff member with underlying health conditions catches Covid from an unvaccinated customer – what if someone dies?

Anti-vaxxer protesters march down George St in Sydney on July 24. Radio host Ben Fordham said ‘freedom fighters will set up GoFundMe pages’ if businesses bar them from entering come December 1

‘Business owners are going to have to hire lawyers and prove they have taken risk assessments. The government is about to give them a hand grenade. They’ve pulled the pin, tossed it into the pub and walked away.’

Popular restaurant chain Rashays, which has 27 stores in NSW, on Monday meanwhile announced it would not reopen until December 1 so its staff wouldn’t have to police Covid vaccine passports.

Mr Ykmour said he didn’t want workers at his 27 restaurants across the state ‘facing arguments at the front door’ from October 11 when fully-vaccinated patrons are allowed to dine at his restaurants. 

‘I’m happy small businesses can open up from October 11, including Rashays,’ Mr Ykmour said in a TikTok video shared on Monday evening.

Fordham said hospitality venues would be exposed to a flood of legal challenges from anti-vaxxer customers when businesses are made to choose whether they ban the unvaccinated from entering

‘But unfortunately we’re taking a stance not to open up until December 1 because we are all about being inclusive.

‘We are all about being inclusive. My staff have been trained for years to open everyone with open arms – I don’t want them facing arguments at the door about who can come in because of double vaccine passports.’ 

Ms Berejiklian on Monday outlined the phased return of freedoms that will begin the Monday after the 70 per cent double-vaccination rate is reached; forecast to happen next week. 

From October 11, five people will be able to visit a home, pubs and restaurants will open for seated service only, retail stores can re-open, and hair and beauty salons to restart with a cap of five patrons – but all of those freedoms will be restricted to the double-vaccinated.

About two weeks later, when 80 per cent are fully vaccinated, those restrictions will be further relaxed to allow 10 visitors to a home, community sport and drinking while standing in a pub. 

A one person per four square metre rule will be in place for indoor venues, and a one person per two square metre rule for outdoor areas. 

Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage venues will be uncapped but must obey the four square metre rule. 

Intra-state travel – previously slated to begin at the 70 per cent rate – has been pushed back to the 80 per cent mark due to growing Covid case numbers in regional areas. 

The 80 per cent threshold will also see the removal of the 50-person limit on fully vaccinated guests for weddings and funerals.

On December 1 – regardless of the vaccination rate – just about all remaining restrictions will be removed, including for the unvaccinated.

The density requirement drops to two square metres indoors, nightclubs will re-open and the 5,000 cap on stadiums will be removed.

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