Awkward conversations loom for local business over ‘silly’ vax fine

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Christian Watters in The Jaffle Shack, Geraldton.
Camera IconChristian Watters in The Jaffle Shack, Geraldton. Credit: Stephen Scourfield The West Australian

A Geraldton business owner has described the State Government’s vaccine mandate, which carries fines for disobeying the rules, as “silly” and is dreading the prospect of having to let staff go.

Nearly every local business will fall under the new directive, mandating that all employees receive both doses of the COVID vaccine by January 31.

Hotels, cafes, and builders are among dozens of businesses which could be fined $100,000 if unvaccinated staff are working. Those individuals could be fined $20,000.

Ocean Centre Hotel manager Tash Gibson is concerned the mandate will cause some awkward conversations with employees.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“How do you even approach that with someone? It’s such a personal thing,” she said.

Owner of The Jaffle Shack, Cavania and Fleur Tearoom Cafe, Christian Watters, pictured, described the fines as “silly” and regrets it may come to letting staff go, even as businesses struggle to find workers.

“I’ve got a couple of staff who are a bit nervous about it. I want to hang on to them, but I might not be able to if I want to avoid these silly fines,” he said.

Mr Watters said he doesn’t know how many of his staff are vaccinated. While he is double jabbed, he is hesitant to ask, or force the matter on his employees.

“Whether they want to get the jab or not is their business ... I don’t pry into the personal matters of my staff,” he said.

Builder Warren Taylor will have to not only ensure his employees are vaccinated, but also his 50 subcontractors.

He has been touring sites to ask workers to get the jab.

“We haven’t had anyone say no ... everyone accepts that it’s just part of life.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails