How to navigate vaccine mandates as a business

There’s one thing we’ve all grown used to as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and that’s change. Different restrictions and requirements have been introduced and removed by governments, based on health advice at the time. Vaccine mandates are one of these requirements that governments have different approaches to, drawing different responses by those in the community. As a gym or studio owner, how can you approach vaccine mandates so you ensure your customers feel safe and heard?


How to open your business again post vaccination requirements


It can be easiest to plan your response to vaccination and COVID-19 requirements by splitting it up between your responsibilities and responses to employees and customers/members. 


Speak to your employees about their vaccine status


There’s no single response governments have taken to vaccine mandates for employees. Whether or not your employees are required to be vaccinated to work in your gym, studio or dojo, there are things you can do to support them and make them feel heard in any concerns they have. Here are some tips for approaching your employees when it comes to vaccines and vaccine mandates:


  • If you have any employees who are hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, approach their concerns with understanding and care. Help them feel heard and that you’re interested in their concerns. If they have concerns, sit down with them and go through the Australian government’s ‘Is it true’ website for evidence-based information to help reassure your employees.
  • You can legally offer rewards in Australia to those who are double vaccinated. There are strict rules for how you can structure and communicate any rewards program you might be interested in. For more information, check out the ‘Arm yourself against COVID-19’ Information Sheet by the Australian Government. 
  • If you want to know what your rights are as a business owner, check out the advice from the Australian Human Rights Commission.



Reassure your customers


There may be members who are hesitant to receive a double COVID-19 vaccination. To help protect other members, your employees and business, there are some things you can do to help educate members:


  • Display vaccination rules clearly at the entrances to your gym, studio or dojo, while making QR check-in stations clear and accessible. 
  • Email your membership base with the latest requirements from your state or territory government, and let them know what you will require of all members when entering your gym, studio or gym. This is a good chance to communicate with understanding, showing your members that you’re complying with laws and regulations but understand any concerns individuals may have. 
  • Display options for your members when it comes to showing their vaccination status.
  • Run social media campaigns or newsletters that educate your members. 
  • If you run a small gym, studio or dojo, you may want to reach out directly to your members to check in on them. This is a great way to stay connected and reassure them you’re doing everything you can to make your business safe. 

 

Make sure unvaccinated members feel supported

 

As a gym, dojo or studio owner, you have an opportunity to talk in advance with your members. If you do need to support a member or potential member who has concerns about being double vaccinated against COVID-19, try the following:

 

  • Explain what your responsibilities are as a business as far as the law is concerned. 
  • Send them a link to the ‘Is it true’ website for access to evidence-based information about vaccines. 
  • If a member or potential member has a medical vaccine exemption, ensure they provide it to you in writing and that it’s signed by a medical professional. 

Proof of vaccination


For a guide on ways an employee or customer can provide you with proof of their COVID-19 vaccination, check out the Australian Government’s ‘COVID-19 vaccinations and your business’.


Have a plan for communicating what new and existing members need to have on hand when they enter your space. This might include using newsletters, text messages, social media campaigns and visible signage to inform members. 


When it comes to your employees and members, remember everyone’s experiencing the same changes and new restrictions that you are as a business owner. Not everyone’s response will be the same, so going into any conversations you have with an open and understanding mindset will do half the work for you. 


 


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