The discovery of the Covid-19 omicron variant opened the debate over mandatory vaccines, leaving many torn between supporting the government and resisting compulsory jabs.
However, some in the hospitality sector are resisting mandatory vaccines.
National Liquor Traders Council national convener Lucky Ntimane said the issue of vaccine mandates needed to be interrogated deeply to understand how it could be put into practice in a tavern environment.
“As it stands we don’t see how the vaccine mandates are going to help our businesses… We are yet to receive any financial support from government and the vaccine mandates will ultimately become a tool that destroys our businesses, given the current vaccination rates in the country.”
Ntimane said liquor traders collectively were yet to meet with government since the beginning of lockdown and any decision which would have an impact on their livelihoods would have to be sanctioned and supported by them.
“It is disingenuous for government to continue to think they can make decisions for us without even consulting us,” he added.
“We do support vaccines as the surest scientific way to fighting Covid and have conducted vaccination drives across the country.”
Restaurant owner Eliza Mvubu said mandatory vaccines were not practical in the hospitality industry while they had little to no support from government.
“I do not support this. It would be foolish to turn away customers because they are not vaccinated just to help a government which is not open to helping its citizens,” Mvubu said.
Restaurant Association of SA’s Wendy Alberts said the sector supported government’s efforts to fast-track vaccinations, but government needed to take responsibility for not adequately preparing the healthcare system.
Gauteng Tourism Authority’s acting chief executive Barba Gaoganediwe said as a government entity it was in full support of the proposal to engage social partners and other stakeholders on making vaccination a condition for access to workplaces, public events and other events.