COVID jabs mandatory for many Territory workers and hefty fines apply
COVID-19 vaccinations will become mandatory for a large number of workers in the Northern Territory by the end of the year, with authorities preparing to open up.
Vaccinations will be mandatory for those who work with vulnerable people including those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Anyone who works in high-risk environments and essential infrastructure and logistics industries must also get vaccinated.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner says people who interact with members of the public at work need to get the jab.
“If you work in hospitality, you need to get the jab, if you work in retail or in a supermarket, you need to get the jab.”
“If you are a barber, a hairdresser, a beauty therapist, you need to get the jab.”
Workers have until November 13 to get their first jab or they will not be allowed to go to work.
They have until December 24 to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or could face a $5,000 fine.
Residential aged care workers must be fully vaccinated by the end of October, quarantine workers have until November 26 while freight workers need to be double vaxxed by December 13.
Mr Gunner says employers will be allowed to request proof of vaccination from their staff for record keeping, with booster shots to be mandatory next year.
Mandatory vaccinations aim to protect Territorians, with freedoms earmarked for the fully vaccinated when 80 percent of the population are immunised.
Mr Gunner expects the NT will reach its target by mid to late November and warns it will then be impossible to keep COVID out.
“COVID-19 will hit the Territory at some stage, it will spread here.”
“We've held off for more than 18 months but we cannot hold it back forever because we are not keeping our borders closed forever.”
“COVID-19 will be with us for years and we will need to shift to living with it, that means being vaccinated against it to reduce the risk of infection, reduce the risk of spread and dramatically reduce the risk of serious illness or death.”
He says home quarantine is expected to commence in December for those who are fully vaccinated.
But it won’t be introduced for people who have returned from overseas until early next year.
“In the new year we’ll take more steps, bigger steps to gradually and safely relax quarantine restrictions,” Mr Gunner says.
“These steps could include reducing the 14 day home quarantine period for vaccinated people.”
Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker says officers will initially focus on educating the community on the changes.
“We don’t want to move into a strict enforcement model but the reality of it is enforcement will flow.”
“The trade off is my people literally walking around collecting bodies who’ve passed away from COVID and that’s a very real conversation the Chief Health Officer and I have had about what was our worst case scenario.”
“I don’t want that for my officers, I don’t want that for the ambulance services, I don’t want that for my fireys, I don’t want that for our health clinics and the personnel who live and work out in those remote communities.”
(Photos: Main - via FB, Middle - generic image, Below - AAP/Aaron Bunch)