As the lockdown goes statewide, regional pub operator Harvest Hotels has announced that all employees who choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will receive an allowance of $100.

The offer extends to all 140 of the operator’s casual and full-time workers and aims to support them in doing their part to keep the community safe and to help offset any time needed away from work following the vaccination. $100 will be transferred to any staff members who elect to get the jab, as well as those already immunised.

The Harvest Hotel group owns and operates pubs in Tamworth, Dubbo, Wagga and Albury. Last week, three of its venues were in lockdown, and now all are impacted following the statewide lockdown announced on the weekend.

“Every time regional communities go into a lockdown, hospitality venues are forced to shut and our staff lose work. We know that rolling up our sleeves for the jab is the only way out of the pandemic, so this $100 allowance is our small way of encouraging our employees who can, to get vaccinated,” Harvest Hotels director Fraser Haughton said.

Harvest Hotels director Chris Cornforth told Australian Hotelier that because most of the group’s staff are casual, this is one small gesture to help support them, and to also protect patrons.

“The health advice is fairly clear that vaccines will prevent lockdowns. This is our way of incentivising our staff to be leaders in the community and go and get vaccinated.

“We are really conscious not to alienate anyone though, so it’s not compulsory for our staff, it’s an incentive, but we’d love for everyone to be vaccinated.”

Keagan Cohen, general manager of the Courthouse Hotel in Tamworth said: “The hospitality industry is looking for certainty at the moment. If getting vaccinated helps prevent lockdowns, keeps our team safe and makes the community feel comfortable to come back to our pubs, then great.

“And the $100 is a nice gesture and bonus for staff who all want to be proactive in these uncertain times.”

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