On Tuesday, the northeast Australian state of Queensland’s government announced that citizens who still haven’t been administered with the COVID-19 vaccine would be barred from accessing public venues and even their workplaces if they remain unjabbed by December 17.
According to the directive, Queensland is expecting to have at least 80% of its total population double-vaccinated by the said date, covering all individuals in its jurisdiction 16 years old and above.
Moreover, only persons who have received their two full jabs of the vaccine will be given admittance to public venues, festivals, outdoor entertainment activities, indoor entertainment venues, hospitality venues, and vulnerable settings. Notably, “vulnerable settings” include disability care accommodation, residential aged care, hospitals, and prisons.
Although Tuesday’s directive specified that there are “exceptions” in providing medical care and treatment to unvaccinated Queensland citizens, these will be only limited to emergencies, childbirth, and end-of-life visits. This section implies that people who still haven’t received their two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine by December 17 would not be able to visit their loved ones confined in hospitals and senior care homes, including those detained in penal institutions.
What’s even more remarkable about the new directive ordered by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is that besides only allowing double-vaccinated individuals to access venues that are deemed as “public” areas, those who refuse to get the shots will be imposed with a fine of $1378.50 AUD ($1262.98 CAD).
Additionally, individuals employed in the venues and settings covered by the directive who choose to remain unvaccinated will also not be allowed to access their workplaces if they fail to comply with December 17 two-jab deadline.
Palaszczuk stressed on social media that the new directive is a “reward” to Queenslanders who “have gone and got vaccinated.” She also pointed out that no new local cases were detected in Queensland as of November 9 and her administration intends to keep it that way by enacting Tuesday’s directive.
“People should be rewarded for what they have done so far, and I want to thank Queenslanders for everything they have done,” the Queensland Premier emphasized. “We are taking another small but important step on our road to keeping our freedoms,” she ironically added.