LEADERS and business owners are making a plea to the community to be kind and understanding with staff when Southland shifts to the traffic light system tomorrow.
The new Covid-19 regulations will come into play at 11.59pm today – with Southland starting under the Orange light, which means people will need to have a vaccination passport to enter most hospitality and retail businesses.
Business owners who do not wish to introduce the vaccine certificate mandate at their facilities will only be able to operate as a contactless service.
ILT Stadium Southland would also be mandating the use of the My Vaccine Pass meaning anyone aged 12 and over would need to be vaccinated, general manager Nigel Skelt said.
“It is very difficult for us to operate under any other rules because we would be restricted by numbers.”
Mr Skelt said he hoped to introduce a system which would allow regular patrons to access the site without having to show their vaccine pass every time they visited, he said.
“It is about finding ways to make the process seamless as possible for the customer.”
The majority of Invercargill City Council’s public facilities will not require vaccination passes including the city library and Splash Palace.
Invercargill City Council chief executive Clare Hadley said the health and safety of staff and the community was the organisation’s highest priority when considering the impacts of the new framework.
“We have undertaken considerable risk assessments across our many facilities and roles to ensure we can continue to operate our important services with the greatest benefit for the community,” she said.
“This does mean that for two of our facilities, including parts of the Civic Theatre, and Rugby Park, we will require our community to show their vaccination certificates to attend events. But as the majority of council’s spaces are public facilities, we will not be introducing a requirement for vaccination certificates at the Invercargill City Library, Administration Building, Splash Palace, Bluff Service Centre and Library or He Waka Tuia, at this time.”
A full list of facility guidelines is available on council’s website.
Southland District Council chief executive Cameron McIntosh said the council would not be mandating vaccine passports at this point in time.
“In our facilities and offices, we ask people to wear masks, sign in and follow the pandemic response advice from government.”
For those hiring a council-owned facility, such as a community hall, part of the hire agreement will be identifying whether or not the event will require the use of the My Vaccine Pass. It will be the hirer’s responsibility to enforce use of the pass.
All ILT-managed facilities would only serve vaccinated patrons with the exception of bottle stores as they were deemed an essential service.
Its board approved a staff vaccination policy earlier this week.
ILT chief executive Chris Ramsay said all employees had been advised they would be required to have at least one jab by tomorrow and be fully vaccinated by January 17.
They could also provide a valid exemption, he said.
“The key message for us to our valuable customers is please be patient with us – we haven’t set there rules but we know that we need to implement them because if we don’t, we will have to close.”
The Southern Institute of Technology was still developing its vaccination policy but chief executive Onno Mulder confirmed this week all the graduation ceremonies were postponed until next year.
Main St Cafe owner Jerin Nadar said it broke his heart not to be able to welcome everyone to his establishment, but the situation was such it was the only option for his business to remain sustainable, while ensuring the safety of his staff and community.
“It is a really hard situation because we love our customers and we love our staff – everything we do is for them.
“So to say no to someone makes me feel so bad.”
Visitors at Invercargill prison would also need to be fully vaccinated.
Chief custodial officer Neil Beales said this measure lessened the potential risk for Covid-19 to be introduced to a prison.
“This is not a decision we made lightly, and we acknowledge the significant impact it has for people in prison with unvaccinated friends and whanau.”
As at November 21, 65% of the 115 Invercargill prison population was fully vaccinated, he said.
Cabinet will review the traffic light settings on December 13, but not again until January 17, then continuing on a fortnightly basis.
To get a My Vaccine Pass, sign up at www.mycovidrecord.nz or call 0800 222 478.
Customers were also able to go to a Covid-19 vaccinating pharmacy and request their My Vaccine Pass.