The Master Grocers Association (MGA) has strongly encouraged all its members to heed the calls of the country’s health officials and be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In an email sent to members this week, the association notes that vaccination is vital to create safe workplaces and get businesses and the economy back to trading as normal.
Jos de Bruin, Chief Executive Officer of MGA, told National Liquor News the biggest message behind this push is to create safer shopping spaces that will help communities open up quicker.
“We are driving for safe workplaces and safe shopping environments. We want communities to open up and [vaccination] is the only answer that we have to make that happen. We can’t continue to live in this confined restrictive manner that we’re all experiencing at the moment,” he said.
As MGA members were told in this week’s email, essential retailers like bottle shops are on the front line during lockdowns such as the ones currently in place in NSW and Victoria. In these challenging times, the association said vaccination remains the best option, both logistically and financially, to create the safest retail environments.
De Bruin said that what is important to MGA during this time is that the industry moves forward together. The association agrees this is the best route, rather than individual employers making vaccination mandatory, something which de Bruin said: “is not the right way to go.”
“We’ve got to get our own industry onto the vaccination movement and bring people with us, because we are on the front line,” he continued.
“There are so many things that we’re dealing with. There’s COVID and restrictions and obligations and vaccinations and rapid antigen testing. We’ve got lockdowns, we’ve got cross border issues, we’ve got members who own businesses in QLD and can’t cross the border to open them.
“There is mayhem out there, and what we’re trying to do is just bring it back to a grassroots level to help our members get through this.”
As part of the campaign, MGA has made posters available for employers to put up in staff rooms and back of store that educate on the benefits of vaccination and include a QR code that sends people to the Australian Government’s official COVID-19 information hub. This includes access to vaccination booking systems, the latest health advice, vaccine information for businesses, and more.
MGA is also working with health officials to advise members how to find the earliest vaccination appointments, and will be providing this information to members as it comes.