Australia's Northern Territory is set to implement one of the world's most strict vaccine mandates beginning on November 12, with those who fail to comply potentially facing fines of $5,000.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner outlined the territory's plan at a press conference, explaining that workers who deal with the public are now required to take a COVID vaccine, along with a mandate for booster shots in the future.
According to a report from News.com.au, the new directive applies to:
- Employees at all jobs that involve interacting with members of the public. For example: hospitality, banking, retail, supermarket, receptionists, hairdressers and beauty therapists
- Workers who come into direct contact with people at risk of severe illness from Covid-19, like Aboriginal people or those who can't be vaccinated
- Employees who work in a high-risk setting where there is a known risk of Covid-19 transmission or outbreak
- People who perform work in essential infrastructure, food or essential good security or supply, or logistics
As a result of the policy, Northern Territory employers will now be granted permission to request proof of vaccination from their workers, along with a requirement to retain a record of vaccination status for all staff.
“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,” Gunner stated, before warning workers that they had 30 days notice to comply. “That is the deadline to keep working in these jobs,” the minister warned.
On top of the November 12 deadline for first vaccination, the Northern Territory will require individuals to receive a second dose by December 24.
As of writing, the sparsely populated Northern Territory — home to just under 250,000 people — has reported 223 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with no deaths linked to the virus. Vaccine uptake in the territory sits at 78 per cent of those aged 16 and up having received a first dose, with 65 per cent fully vaccinated.