Vaccination against COVID-19 should be mandatory for all staff working across properties servicing hotel quarantine requirements across Australia, Tourism Accommodation Australia has said.
The call comes following the establishment of the NSW Airport and Quarantine Workers Vaccination Program, which mandates that all staff at quarantine facilities such as hotels must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or have an appointment to do so. The order includes cleaners, maintenance team members, linen contractors, kitchen staff, guest services and front of house staff.
Medical personnel carrying out health screening, courier services, security services and auditers of these services in a quarantine facility must also comply with the order. Transport workers moving returned travellers and all others required to enter quarantine are also required to be vaccinated, have received at least one dose or be booked for an upcoming jab.
The revised Public Health Order was amended on 25 June 2021 and took effect three days later.
TAA National CEO, Michael Johnson, said vaccinations for hotel quarantine staff has always been available but was never mandatory, however the same requirement should be in place for hotel quarantine workers nationwide.
“Today’s new order makes vaccination mandatory and mitigates another element of risk from the quarantine program,” Johnson said.
“With the National Cabinet announcement last Friday of a quarantine hotel program review, all state and territories should implement a similar order of mandatory vaccination for quarantine hotel workers if it is not in place already.”
Johnson said actual hotel occupancies were hovering around the 2% mark when quarantine levels were excluded, with the government health business being the only thing keeping the hotel market operating.
“Sydney hotels are currently operating at 20 per cent occupancy, but that figure is misleading because the majority of guests are quarantined travellers,” he added.
“This figure will be halved again after 14 July, when the cap for international arrivals drops from 3,000 arrivals per week to 1500 per week.
“Under the current lockdown most other Sydney hotels are closed or operating at less than 2 per cent occupancy, with most staff stood down.
“The ones that have managed to stay open have seen a 98 per cent drop in revenue compared to this time last month,” Johnson said.