NSW venues want legal protections to open

Neil Perry wants a separate public health order regarding vaccination of restaurant staff.
Neil Perry wants a separate public health order regarding vaccination of restaurant staff.

The NSW government is still working on compliance issues as restaurants and small businesses worry about enforcing vaccination requirements for customers and staff.

Sydney restaurateur Neil Perry says the government needs to provide legal clarity to protect owners when restaurants reopen for business.

Representatives from industry bodies speaking at a Wednesday summit on western Sydney's economic recovery said time was running out for businesses to plan for the state's reopening.

Under the NSW government's roadmap, vaccinated people will be able to dine out again when the state reaches 70 per cent double-dose coverage, which is expected in about a month.

However, Perry, who has come under fire from anti-vaxxers for insisting his staff are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, wants a separate public health order so restaurants aren't exposed to legal action from disgruntled staff or locked-out diners.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday the government would get legal advice about the rules for hospitality venues, which will have to enforce the requirement for customers and staff to be fully vaccinated.

The premier said there would be a vaccination passport when the state reopened for business.

"You'll be able to check in with your QR code and see whether or not you're vaccinated," she said.

"The government will need to seek legal advice ourselves."

Perry wants laws to clear up the confusion and protect small businesses from litigation before restaurants open.

"I think there should be a temporary health order," he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

"It looks to me like there is a big grey area right in the middle now when we're about to open."

Josh Landis from ClubsNSW said public health orders were needed for mandating vaccination and indemnifying venues against claims by unvaccinated people for breach of privacy, against claims of discrimination for denied entry, and against workers compensation claims by staff who contract the virus at work.

Australian Associated Press