30 August 2021

The region’s peak business organisation, Business Illawarra, has today called for the urgent return of business in a COVID Safe environment with enhanced operating conditions for fully vaccinated staff and customers.  

“The current COVID-19 lockdown is having a significant and damaging impact on the Illawarra economy, on our community’s mental health and on the livelihoods of businesses across the board,” said Executive Director of Business Illawarra, Adam Zarth.

“It is now time for us to start the planning for reopening parts of our economy in a COVID Safe way, starting with people who are fully vaccinated,” Mr Zarth said.

“We have seen significant increases in vaccination rates across the state. Passing the six million mark last week was a huge milestone and we congratulate the Illawarra community for playing its part in driving up these numbers.”

“Reopening low risk businesses, particularly those that are primarily based outdoors, such as outdoor personal trainers or hospitality venues with outdoor seating, to people who are fully vaccinated should be a priority.” 

“The Government needs to provide clear guidance and a roadmap for these industries so they can start to plan their re-opening and have all necessary controls in place from day one.” 

“Of course, those businesses must continue to operate in a COVID Safe way, combining vaccination with other COVID controls such as QR code registration, face masks and social distancing.”

“We also need to make it easier for businesses to prioritise safety by having a straightforward method for customers and staff to prove their vaccination status.”  

“Business Illawarra will continue to support local businesses in what will be an evolving environment for them and their customers as the virus changes, and as vaccines and booster programmes are implemented and broader public policy responses are improved.”

“But we need to consider how we live with the virus and there should be incentives and encouragement for people to get vaccinated. Locally, the #VaxTheIllawarra campaign is a terrific initiative aimed at encouraging our community to be the first to reach 80 percent fully vaccinated.”

“In learning to live with this virus it is critical that the Government starts to allow low risk businesses to reopen for vaccinated people in a COVID Safe way,” Mr Zarth said.