Passes will be 'soul-destroying' for unvaccinated, barber says

Geoff Gibson is predicting people will get angry when proof of double vaccination will have to be produced before getting a haircut.
JOHN BISSET/Stuff
Geoff Gibson is predicting people will get angry when proof of double vaccination will have to be produced before getting a haircut.

The Government’s requirement to have proof of being double-jabbed to get a haircut will be “soul-destroying” for some unvaccinated people, a Timaru businessman says.

“I think it will be soul-destroying for people who can’t lead an unvaccinated life,” Geoff Gibson of Murray’s Barber Shop and Beauty Salon said.

“There’s going to be extra stress dealing with a very hot topic when a lot are very much for and there are those against.”

The Government has required close contact businesses, such as hairdressers, gyms, hospitality, events and gatherings to have both the public and staff fully vaccinated if they want to operate with fewer restrictions under its traffic light system, the Covid-19 Protection Framework, which comes into effect, on Friday, December 3.

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To get a haircut, proof of double vaccination would be required.

To continue their employment in these areas, workers must also have their first vaccination by that day. These workers then need to be fully vaccinated by January 17, 2022, or they will lose their jobs.

Gibson expected people would get angry, and start yelling when they would not be able to get a service they had received for 30 to 40 years.

Complying with government requirements made for a “tricky situation” for business owners, he said.

“Being in business you don’t want to be turning money down, but you’ve got to follow the rules.”

Geoff Gibson says business owners face a “tricky situation” turning customers away, but they have to abide by the rules.
JOHN BISSET/Stuff
Geoff Gibson says business owners face a “tricky situation” turning customers away, but they have to abide by the rules.

Gibson said he was unsure how the traffic light system would work.

Vaccine passes showing people have been double vaccinated can be downloaded to a phone or printed out. They display the holder’s name and date of birth, along with a QR code.

Felicity Bruce, of Cocoon Hair Design, was waiting for more information from the Government via the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers.

She did not want to comment on the Government’s traffic light system.

“We’ve been warning a lot of our unvaccinated clients in the last few days to get in during the next week, so we can accommodate them.

“I wouldn’t have a clue how many (unvaccinated) we’ve got, but we do have quite a few. They’ve been a wonderful support for our business.

“We’ll be working late to get them in before the passport starts,” Bruce said.

She did not expect there would be problems implementing the system.

Eva Hunt, of Mocca and Arthur St Kitchen, in Timaru, said opinions were so strongly held on either side of the vaccination debate there would be friction.

“We’ve had some aggression from people about wearing masks, but we can’t afford to have someone stand at the door and check vaccination certificates.

“At Arthur St we are fortunate we can do contact out the window; we’ve got that option. Mocca is different. There’s no way of checking unless we have a member of staff at the door.”

Hunt said policing vaccination certificates would vary from business to business, but she was “very lucky” regarding staff vaccinations.

“Not everyone is so fortunate.”

Meanwhile, a goal of 90 per cent double-vaccinations for South Island residents is the aim of the ‘90% for the South’ campaign, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said.

“When moving into the new traffic light framework, vaccination rates for regions will play a part in determining which colour we move to.

“Our focus is on ensuring the South Island moves straight into orange rather than red and the race is on to get our vaccination rates as high as possible before next week’s announcement.”

Watson said the campaign had the backing of all the South Island district health boards and involved local Chambers of Commerce, businesses and organisations.