48 days ago

Aucklanders vent frustrations at extension of Level 3

Brian from New Lynn

By the time the next decision is made for the region, Aucklanders will have spent 11 weeks in either Level 3 or 4. The Level 3 and 4 lockdown between March and May last year was 52 days long. When Auckland's current restrictions are reconsidered by the Government in a fortnight, it'll be 76 days. There's little agreement on what should happen next from those in the city. "She's sort of between a rock and a hard place," cafe owner Fraser said. "Me personally, I'd have gone two weeks of Level 4 to try get [case numbers] down." "They're doing all of this from their ivory towers in Wellington. I don't think they have any idea what it's like to be locked up like this," Jo said. "Kids need to be in school... It's no good," Awan said. "I think it's the right decision. We've come so far. It's a bit disappointing - I'm quite bored and my business is suffering," said Anna. There have been 386 cases of Covid-19 in the community in the last week alone, and around 150,000 eligible Aucklanders are still not vaccinated at all against the disease. One man, Alastair, was okay with the decision to keep the status quo but he wanted to see a plan - with incentives. "I want to see people rewarded for being vaccinated. [The government's] got to move forward. We cannot keep having it moved forward... with no end point." Cafe manager Fraser said compliance was seriously falling off. "I don't think we can stay here [at Level 3] much longer. At the weekend we went for a drive, and there's a lot of people giving up paying attention now. Everyone's just doing their own thing. "If we're still shut down at Christmas, I think it's going to start getting a little bit more serious than just ignoring what we're told to do." The Government has repeatedly said high vaccination and testing rates would help towards easing restrictions. If 90 per cent double-vaccinated is what's wanted for Auckland, that could be weeks away. Auckland is 18,000 people short of 90 per cent first doses and even if all of these were vaccinated today, they would have to wait three weeks for their next one and two more weeks for full immunity. One woman Jo, who is double-vaccinated, said the extension of alert level 3 was causing resentment. "I don't think they really comprehend what it's like for the ordinary, everyday person who's caught like this, just can't do anything," she said. "Most of the people, in fact everybody I talk to, are all getting angry." On Friday the government will reveal the next phase of a Covid-19 protection plan for New Zealand with a 90 percent vaccination rate featuring prominently.
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Auckland's alert level will be reassessed by Cabinet on 1 November.
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5 days ago

Lone Star New Lynn ignores vaccine mandate, invites unvaccinated to apply for work

Brian from New Lynn

A popular family restaurant in Auckland inviting unvaccinated workers to apply for bar and restaurant roles on a "No Jab Jobs" website has had its ad removed.
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Lone Star New Lynn posted the advertisement on the site four days ago with a note saying the business "will not be discriminating either whilst employing or serving our guests".
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The job ad appears to contravene the vaccine mandate for close contact workers in the hospitality industry. The Herald spoke to owner Brendan Pascoe before the ad was removed yesterday but he refused to comment. "I'm not commenting, you are all pushing the same mandate so I know what will be said and I'm not interested. No comment," he said. When asked about the legalities of employing unvaccinated staff and serving unvaccinated customers, Pascoe again refused to comment. But Paul Steiner, operations manager for the Lone Star franchise, said the restaurant brand "took the health and safety of its franchisees, their staff, and customers very seriously". "All franchisees are required by the terms of their franchise arrangements to comply with all relevant laws, legislation, and government requirements, including health requirements." A spokesperson from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said businesses covered by the My Vaccine Pass requirements need to ensure all workers are vaccinated. "If workers are not vaccinated at a hospitality business they cannot operate. "Vaccination in these sectors is an important tool for reducing infection and transmission." The countdown is on to December 3 when New Zealand moves to the traffic light system and restaurants, bars and cafes can open their doors to vaccinated patrons. Auckland, where the Lone Star restaurant is situated, will be at the Red phase where businesses can welcome up to 100 people based on 1m distancing with different groups of customers seated and separated. Vaccine passes must be viewed and verification is advised. If businesses do not comply with My Vaccine Pass requirements they can only offer contactless service. Events, restaurants, hairdressers and cafes that do not use vaccine certificates will not be allowed to open at all under the Red and Orange settings - except those that offer takeaway food. Epidemiologist Michael Baker said the Lone Star advertisement clearly went against the mandate for hospitality workers. "It's important to note customers going into any restaurant have an expectation that all the staff and other customers are vaccinated as mandated," he said. "To have an unvaccinated staff member in a role like that is a risk to others. Even with a mask, there is a risk, it is not eliminated." Chris Mole from the No Jab Jobs website said it wouldn't comment other than to say the Lone Star advertisement had since been removed. No other jobs advertised on the site are for jobs where vaccinations are mandated. On Tuesday, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced new Covid-19 vaccination requirements. Vaccination was soon to be mandatory for all workers at any business where vaccine passports were required for customers.
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nzherald.co.nz/business/covid-19-delta-outbreak-lone-star-new-lynn-ignores-vaccine-mandate
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