Katherine businesses have expressed their support for ensuring their staff are vaccinated against COVID-19, but the NT Chamber of Commerce still has reservations about the newly announced mandate.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner yesterday announced that it would be mandatory for workers in a range of industries across the Territory to get their first jab by November 13, and to be fully vaccinated by Christmas.
The broad mandate will apply to anyone who works in customer facing roles, with vulnerable people or who work in essential services.
Riverview Tourist Village Manager Dee Miller said she had no issues with the mandate as her staff were already fully vaccinated.
"We're all vaccinated anyway so there's no concerns for us," she said.
Ms Miller said, being in the tourism industry, it was important for her staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
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"We're dealing with people from all over the country," she said.
"They could have been in a hotspot or have the virus and not even know."
Rod & Rifle Tackleworld owner Warren de With agreed, saying he made sure his staff were vaccinated because they were also interacting with interstate tourists.
"If the vaccine is going to stop any of our staff from getting sick to the point of getting critically ill in hospital, it's a no brainer," he said.
"It's not up to me to tell people what to do [but] for me, you can sit on the fence if you wanna sit on the fence and be defiant but I don't know why you would if it's going to make life a lot easier for yourself."
Katherine Mayor Lis Clark said vaccination was extremely important for Katherine because a COVID outbreak could be "a huge disaster" for the region.
"I'm really concerned about the people that have not been immunised because if people come up here with COVID then that's going to be a huge health issue for us," she said.
"I don't know how the government intends to open borders, but once they are open we will no doubt have people that have COVID coming here."
NT Chamber of Commerce CEO Greg Ireland said although the Chamber was supportive of vaccinations, they had raised some concerns with the NT Government about the mandate.
"We want business ready to be re-opening. Having people that are fully vaccinated having the majority of contact with the public makes sense to us," he said.
"There are concerns around being unable to replace somebody with a certain skill set. We've asked the government to take that into consideration."
Mr Ireland also said the mandate could also put extra pressure on industries already struggling with staff shortages in Katherine.
"That was one of the first key points we raised with government," he said.
"They're still very much focussed on protecting people and saying unvaccinated people can't' be having that contact.
"Businesses are highly reliant on key staff so it could introduce some concerns."
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