Support for Vaccination Passports Has Dropped

Support for vaccine passports has dropped in the hospitality sector as business owners worry about how they would enforce such a requirement, said Restaurant Association.

When asked if they would support the introduction of a passport-style document as proof of vaccination to enter hospitality venues and events, 26 percent of respondents supported the idea, but only at alert level 2 or high, 23 percent supported the idea at all levels, 34 percent were against the idea, and 16 percent were unsure.

In August, 26 percent said they did not support vaccine passports.

The main challenge with managing such a scheme would be dealing with customers who disregard the policy, followed by the practicalities of enforcement, said Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois. Communicating the rules to both local and international customers was also a concern, she added.

Additionally, the survey showed staffing and training were the fourth and fifth biggest challenges.

An earlier survey conducted before the snap lockdown showed 70 percent of members supported the vaccination passport, but challenges with policing this mandate are coming to light, said Bidois.

With some of the population likely to remain unvaccinated, businesses would be caught in delicate situations that might jeopardise keeping staff and customers safe.

Nearly 40 percent of businesses said they would consider requiring workers to be vaccinated, while 34 percent said no and 25 percent were unsure.

Bidois said the association had received queries from members about the power dynamics of dealing with customers who refuse to follow the procedures in place.

In the last government announcement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wanted to see high rates of vaccination. She acknowledged the hospitality sector had been hit hard and emphasised that the resurgence payments were available.

Ardern also said vaccine passports would be necessary for international travel and possibly events.