Casinos operator Crown is considering a ‘no jab, no entry’ policy for patrons as it pushes for its 20,000 staff across Australia to get fully vaccinated.
The gaming group is consulting with its workers and other stakeholder groups about the COVID-19 vaccination policy, which will affect visitors and workers.
It cited a survey of Crown employees in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth conducted last week showing 63 per cent supported the idea of a mandatory vaccination policy in the hospitality sector.
Crown Resorts and Crown Melbourne boss Steve McCann said while it had been urging workers to get vaccinated for a while it was time to be more “proactive”.
“As such a significant hospitality employer in Australia with resorts that hosted over 30 million visits a year pre-COVID, we need to take measures to help keep people safe,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“That starts with our employees but also extends to our guests and the broader community.
“This is about protecting every Australian.”
The staff survey also found 60 per cent of respondents were already fully vaccinated or had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Crown plans to make it easier for more workers to get vaccinated by offering three hours of paid leave for each vaccination received.
Workers will also be entitled to an extra day of paid sick leave if needed.
Those who are already vaccinated, or are currently stood down due to closures, will receive a $50 gift voucher.
“COVID-19 has devastated the hospitality industry, and that has been felt acutely by our people,” Mr McCann said.
“Supporting the vaccination target rates set by governments is going to help our industry reopen, stay open and recover faster.”
Crown is just one of a number of Australian companies – such as Qantas, Virgin Australia, Telstra and SPC – heading down the mandatory vaccination route.
But the issue is fraught for businesses, Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox warned, given they are going it alone without any federal government or regulatory backup.
“All of this is just being left up to individual business owners and operators,” he told Nine Network on Tuesday.
“But in the end, businesses are responsible for health and safety.
“They are also responsible for who comes into their business or who works in their business.
“So businesses are going to have to make and are making their own decisions around things like rapid testing, around vaccine passports, around mandatory vaccines or not.”
Mr Willox noted there was some trepidation given instances of resistance amongst customers to the use of QR codes at retail and other outlets.
“They don’t want to get into confrontations,” he said.
Mr Willox also warned the issue was going to be “one of the most difficult industrial and business issues that we’ve confronted”.
“It will end up … in the courts at various times, in different tribunals, Fair Work and the like, and we will need in the end to get some clearer directions,” he said.