Covid-19 Sydney: Restaurant chain Rashays WON’T open until December when unvaccinated are welcome


The owner of a high-profile restaurant chain has refused to open his doors until December because he doesn’t want to force his staff to police Covid vaccine passports.

Rashays founder Rami Ykmour on Monday said he wouldn’t re-open his NSW branches until December 1 – when Premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed all residents will have the same freedoms regardless of their vaccination status.

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. 

Hungry Jack’s boss Jack Cowin though has flagged he will fully re-open his stores as soon as he is allowed and predicted anti-vaxxers will ‘cave in’ once restrictions ease. 

A Covid-19 vaccination is administered on August 9. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed all residents will have the same freedoms regardless of their vaccination status on December 1

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

‘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.’  

His stance follows NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham hitting out at the NSW government’s vaccine passport scheme in a column for Daily Mail Australia on Monday.

Rashays founder Rami Ykmour on Monday said he wouldn’t re-open his NSW branches until December because he doesn’t want his staff to police Covid vaccine passports

‘The Berejiklian/ [NSW Labor leader] Minns policy sets up a scenario by which someone can turn up at a pub sneezing and spluttering, show their vaccine passport and gain entry, while an unvaxxed patron who has passed a rapid antigen test is turned away,’ the politician wrote.

‘The vaccinated have nothing to fear from unvaccinated people, as they have gone out and got their best protection.

‘There is no reason for treating the unvaccinated as lepers, which is what vaccine passports do – denying them access to shops and other venues.’

The Hungry Jack’s billionaire has by contrast actively encouraged his staff to get both jabs and incentivised them to get vaccinated through a cash prize and gift card giveaways.

He said he tells unvaccinated people he knows: ‘How are you going to get on a plane and go overseas or go to a restaurant or pub, how do you feel about that and how strong is your conviction?’

‘The general answer is they will probably cave in, which will be the case once restrictions ease,’ Mr Cowin told The Australian.

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. 

Hungry Jack’s billionaire Jack Cowin has actively encouraged his staff to get both jabs and incentivised them to get vaccinated. Pictured is a Hungry Jack’s branch in Sydney’s CBD

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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