Restaurants that reject vaccine push for ‘equality’ for unvaccinated people hurt us all | Philippe McKibbin


THELike most Aucklanders, I can’t wait to get out of the city. After more than three months of confinement, I want to take a break. Last summer my partner and I went to Tauranga. We had so much fun that we are planning to go back – but this time things will be different.

As Aotearoa New Zealand moves from the Covid-19 “alert level” system to the new “traffic light” system, venues have had a choice. Under the “red” and “orange” settings, they can welcome customers inside, but only if they are ready to check vaccine passes. If they don’t want to, their service has to be contactless.

Most sites have welcomed the new vaccine pass – but unsurprisingly, some are resisting it. A small number announced that they would adopt contactless procedures for everyone, until they can accommodate everyone “equally”.

I was particularly disappointed to learn that one of my favorite restaurants in Tauranga takes this position. Last summer their food was a highlight for us. So it’s a shame that we don’t come back to eat there unless their response to the vaccine rules changes.

The message these sites use may seem community driven – especially when they say things like they don’t want to ‘discriminate’, and respect personal choices – but their stance shows otherwise. Their refusal to support the vaccine pass is a damaging political statement that undermines efforts to keep people safe.

It may seem that the immunization card grants special privileges to those who are vaccinated and punishes those who are not, but in reality, it is designed to protect us all. In fact, by helping to slow the spread of Covid-19, those who will benefit the most are the unvaccinated, who are more likely to catch the virus and more likely to suffer from serious complications when they do. Vaccine rules protect the most vulnerable people in our communities, including children (who cannot yet get the vaccine), the immunocompromised, and those whose medical conditions prevent them from receiving the vaccine.

If drop-ins are genuinely interested in serving their communities, one of the best things they can do is actively and vocally support the immunization card as this will encourage more people to get vaccinated, helping us beat Covid- 19.

One of the common objections to the vaccine pass is that it is incompatible with the very notion of “hospitality” – after all, isn’t welcoming people what it means to be hospitable? Well, yes and no. As usual, te ao Māori (the Maori world) is instructive here. I am thinking of the concept of “manaakitanga”. Manaakitanga is not limited to welcoming people; it is also about taking care of them. As hosts, we do our best to make sure our guests are well taken care of – physically, emotionally and spiritually. And like many Maori concepts, this one is based on reciprocity: being a good guest. means respecting your hosts and your manuhiri companions.

Manaakitanga demands that we work together to take care of each other. The vaccine pass is a tool that helps us do this, whether we are hosts or guests.

It is misleading to claim – as some critics have done – that if hospitality facilities use the vaccine pass, the unvaccinated will miss out. As far as I know, nothing in the rules prevents places from offering contactless takeout options for the unvaccinated, while still using the vaccine pass with people who wish to sit outside. inside.

As Kiwis we love to look out for each other. One way to do this is to support businesses that adopt the vaccine pass. Tautoko (support) their efforts to promote public health and make it clear that we believe they are doing the right thing.

I can’t wait to return to Tauranga. I plan to spend those precious few days drinking iced coffee, bodyboarding on the beach, and climbing Mt. Maunganui. I will also be on the lookout for new restaurants – those playing their part in slowing the spread of Covid-19.


Comments are closed.