No jab no work bookings need to be made today

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Print businesses in Sydney were ready for Monday's no jab no work deadline, but late Sunday the state government extended the deadline by another two weeks, although staff have to have made their booking to get vaccinated by today.

Stopping Victoria: Covid-19
 Printers vaccinated: Covid-19

All print businesses spoken to by Print21 were confident they were ready for Monday. Print bosses have been doing all they can to encourage staff to get the vaccine; communicating the benefits, offering time off work to get the jab, time off for any side effects, and financial bonuses ranging from $75 vouchers upwards.

NSW Health had mandated that any staff who live in one of the 12 areas of concern had to receive at least one dose of the vaccine by Monday 6 September, otherwise they could not come to work. The five million Sydney residents are currently racing to get vaccinated, in order to protect themselves, be able to go to work, and to enjoy freedoms which will begin next week with outdoor recreation for groups of five.

The new extension to 19 Sept takes the heat off business and their staff, and came into effect because not all workers in the health sector were vaccinated, and there would be too many gaps if today's deadline had been enforced.

Print businesses are open in the current lockdown, with staff going to work under the authorised manufacturing worker category. The 12 LGAs of concern are the heart of the Sydney print industry, and most of their staff live there, with printers in surrounding areas also drawing large pools of staff from the 12 LGAs.

Keith Ferrel, general manager at Cactus Imaging said, “Right now 96 per cent of our staff are vaccinated, the rest will be done over the weekend. We have had no problems, everyone has been super keen.”

Wayne Rubin, oner of Twin Loops Binding said, “Yes everyone has now been jabbed. The 6 September deadline was a real driver, those that were waiting went out and got their jabs.”

Sandra Duarte, CEO of Centrum Printing said, "All of our staff have been invested in getting vaccinated. The situation is less than ideal, but we are certainly making the best of it."

Baden Kirgan, owner of Jeffries Printing, said, “All our people are on board, and all their families. It has been great to see. We are ready for Monday.”

Rodney Frost, CEO of the Lamson Group said: "Some 92 per cent of our team live in the 12 LGA’s of focus, and they have really stood up and helped each other through an incredibly challenging time."

Frost joined other print bosses in paying tribute to his staff, he said, "In particular I’m humbled by their effort and sacrifice to get vaccinated to protect their team and their families. Our entire team will have had one jab before Monday, which is absolutely phenomenal.

"We introduced an incentive program, giving each team member a $75 digital voucher when fully vaccinated. Thanks go to Matt Aitken and the IVE Group Team for their inspiration on this initiative, it’s much appreciated."

Aitken, boss of IVE, the country's biggest printer, which is also located in one of the areas of concern, has been reaching out to other printers in the area and sharing the strategies IVE has put in place to enable its staff to get vaccinated. Frost said: "Matt shared what they had been doing, and we basically copied it."

Pushback has been virtually non-existent, with print people resisting the claims of the lunatic fringe. One print boss told Print21, “There are 27 million people in Australia, and 10,000 Covid idiots making a lot of noise spruiking antivax nonsense. Well done to all print staff for ignoring their ridiculous theories."

The LGAs of concern are Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and some suburbs of Penrith. However other LGAs may be added to the list, and if so workers there will also need the permit, with the rest of Penrith and Camden on notice that they may be next. The 12 LGAs of concern are also now under a curfew from 9pm-5am, authorised workers are exempt, but again they need to carry their permits.

Print businesses are allowed to operate in all Australian states under lockdown, as suppliers to essential services. They must adhere to a Covid-safe plan, which must have been communicated and understood by staff, and to workplace Covid protocols, which include wearing masks at all times, maintaining social distancing, and QR check-in for visitors. Print workers are categorised under the manufacturing sector of authorised workers.

Staff living in the 12 LGAs also need a permit to travel to work, irrespective of where they work. Staff who live outside the 12 LGAs but work in one of them also need an authorised worker travel permit. The permits are available on the Service NSW website. Big fines apply for those that have no permits or misuse them.

Permits to travel to work are also necessary in Melbourne. The Melbourne lockdown has been extended indefinitely, much to the chagrin of business leaders there. Regional Victoria, apart from Shepparton, is out of lockdown tomorrow. Regional NSW will likely be out of lockdown on Friday. ACT has had its lockdown extended until 17 September. WA, SA, Queensland and Tasmania have few restrictions, however state borders remain tight, particularly between other states and NSW and Victoria.

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