REGIONAL market stall-holders are generally welcoming vaccine mandate laws coming into play across Victoria later this week.
As authorised workers, market traders join about one million Victorians who must have had their first COVID vaccine dose by October 22 and be fully vaccinated by November 26 should they work on site. Employers are to start enforcing this state health directive from Friday.
Red Duck head distiller Scott Wilson-Browne said he was already fully vaccinated and he wanted others to step up and do the right thing for the community, too.
"As a small business owner, I'm really looking forward to getting things back to semi-normal. Lockdowns have been very frustrating," Mr Wilson-Browne said. "As soon as we reach our vaccination target the better."
Mr Wilson-Brown said most stall-holders and customers were doing the right thing, masking up, checking in and smiling under their masks at Ballarat Farmers Market on Saturday.
The market, off Zoo Drive near the lake, was bustling with about 3000 market-goers at the weekend. This was the market's largest crowd outside its Christmas trade.
Ballarat Farmers Market manager Steve Burns said vaccinated stall-holders was a great promotion for a safe event and offered market-goers reassurance.
Mr Burns said market directors were in the tough spot of not being directly responsible for checking stall-holders' vaccination status, as each stall operated as its own business. COVID police could check in their market patrols.
Mr Burns said most on Ballarat Farmers Market's list were already fully vaccinated or on the way to being fully vaccinated.
What Mr Burns had also done, was speak to a couple who might be vaccine hesitant to arrange alternate market options, such as organising fully vaccinated staff to operate stalls.
"Most see vaccination as the right thing to do for personal safety and minimise risk - their stall has potentially 3000 people walking past each market," Mr Burns said. "We like to make sure stalls are not crammed in to our market, it's part of trying to help people feel at ease.
"...The market is one of the few community spaces that is safe and genuinely happening. This is the reason we had community groups there. We have a bigger purpose for inclusion."
The market is one of the few community spaces that is safe and genuinely happening. This is the reason we had community groups there. We have a bigger purpose for inclusion.Steve Burns, Ballarat Farmers Market manager
Ballarat Farmers Market featured community groups, such as permaculture experts to offer advice on fruit flies and a woodworkers' guild for their fundraising raffle.
Meanwhile, The Red Lion Hotel publican David Canny said the vaccine mandate was not a major issue in the hotel industry.
Mr Canny, who is Australian Hoteliers Association Victoria president, said the industry had always been "pro getting open" and recognised vaccinations were a key part of that for staffing and capacity.
Any staff who do not meet vaccine deadlines will be stood down.
"Our staff overwhelmingly want to get back to work and at capacity," Mr Canny said. "Most of the staff we employ are young and just want to get on with their lives."
PYRENEES HOTEL TO TRIAL JAB ECONOMY
AWARD-winning Avoca Hotel will headline the state government's vaccine economy trial in the Grampians region from this week.
While Pyrenees Shire had been touted as a local government area to be part of the trial, exact venues were only unveiled by Premier Daniel Andrews and Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula on Sunday morning.
Avoca Hotel is one of 15 sites that will be able to operate with higher density limits for the fully vaccinated while testing vaccine certification technology.
Events will include a mid-week race meeting in Warrnambool on Thursday. A gym, cinemas, a church and Bendigo Art Gallery are also part of the trial in Greater Bendigo.
The trial will help lay the foundations to have up to 10,000 racing fans will be at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November in a little more than three weeks - days after music lovers across Melbourne will be able to attend a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on October 30.
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