Wagga businesses struggled to adjust to new vaccine requirements that came into effect on Monday as the state reached 'freedom day', saying they felt unsure or uncomfortable about enforcing the rules.
Snap Fitness owner Nic Gannon said his business is lucky to be based on membership, making vaccine checks relatively straightforward.
"What we've done is locked out all the barcodes until they provide proof of vaccination," Mr Gannon said. "It's a bit of an admin nightmare but it's just for another six of seven weeks."
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For those who won't get vaccinated, they will be able to freeze their membership free of charge at Snap Fitness.
For hospitality venues, it's a little more complicated.
The Curious Rabbit cafe owner Vickie Burkinshaw said they need to ask each customer for proof of their vaccine status when they show their check-in tick, and are relying on signage to alert customers to the vaccine rules.
"The signage is really specific about what our expectations are [of customers] and we have shown staff how to recognise vaccine certificates and exemptions as well," she said.
"It's also about helping [staff] understand that some people might not feel great about [the questions] but that's ok."
Mr Gannon said while they are enforcing the rules, it is a lot for the government to ask of small businesses.
"Obviously it's a hard one," he said. "We don't want to discriminate as a business, it is up to [individuals] to get vaccinated or not vaccinated, we're just enforcing the laws the government has mandated."
Ms Burkinshaw agreed and said the rules being applied to regional areas are unfair and 'Sydney-centric'.
"Absolutely this week is more difficult than last week," she said. "The fact that this whole time we've had to play by Sydney rules even though our situation is so different is extremely frustrating."
Wagga Business Chambers Serena Hardwick said they were lobbying for vaccine regulation not to fall to businesses.
"Asking people for the vaccine status has presented businesses [with] a bit of an ethical issue because not everyone is comfortable asking that, even though it's a requirement," she said.
"Our advocacy efforts are that this should not be a requirement businesses have to implement, this is a state [responsibility]."
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