The state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia has threatened jail time for unvaccinated individuals who attempt to enter businesses without the government-mandated vaccine passport.
On Monday, NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello threatened jail time for anyone who tries to enter a venue with a fake vaccine passport. Dominello, who is overseeing the release of NSW’s digital vaccine certificate, addressed concerns that customer service employees could face physical danger if they turn away unvaccinated customers.
The health order, which is yet to be issued, will enable law enforcement to take action against individuals who refuse to abide by the passport mandate. He said that policing vaccine passports should not be left to small business owners or junior staff.
In the United States, several store owners and customer service staff have been shot and killed, or otherwise brutalized, for attempting to enforce state masking requirements and other forms of pandemic-era mandates. In Germany, a gas station attendee was killed for asking a man to put on a face mask.
“If people want to do the wrong thing, if they get found out, as I said, it could be jail time there,” he told Australia’s ABC.
However, a spokesperson for Dominello later told News.com.au that his remarks were “out of context” and only referred to people who used fake vaccine passports.
“Businesses and customers have a shared responsibility to comply with the rules and keep the public safe,” the statement read. “People who create and use fake vaccine certificates will face the full force of the law and could face jail time.”
“Fraud is a very serious matter and won’t be tolerated. My message is clear – put the community first and get vaccinated,” it continued.
On Monday, Dominello reiterated his original point, to Channel Nine’s “Today,” stating that anyone who refuses to show their vaccine status when entering shops, restaurants, or other venues should be reported to the police.
“What we need to do is make sure that the responsibility is primarily on the individual,” Dominello said. “Businesses, particularly small businesses, should not be de facto police officers. If there is an escalation, please call authorities.”
“I’m expecting the people of NSW will continue to do what they’ve done and show an amazing effort to get through this,” he added. “So far so good, I’m really optimistic about the future.”
“The Premier has said time and time again the primary responsibility is on the individual,” he said. “Small businesses, in particular, should not be de facto police officers. When people make a fuss in relation to checking in with their QR codes, and there are people that made a fuss, it was reported to police who were there to enforce public health orders.”