As of tomorrow, NSW officially kicks off its roadmap out of lockdown. For those of us fully vaccinated legends, we can have up to ten mates in our home, go to a pub for a sit-down beer and chicken schnity, get a haircut, and ~browse~ retail stores again. 

After months of staying in lockdown, not seeing anyone, and growing out a wild mop on my skull, I simply cannot wait for it.

But, while a lot of us are frothing over these new freedoms, people in front-facing jobs are preparing to deal with a new kind of abuse in this adjustment period of the next few weeks out of lockdown.

Anti-vaxers are really out here comparing service only for the fully vaccinated to Nazi Germany

Anthony Ursino is Vice President of the Australian Music Association and Director of a music hardware store on the Central Coast called Macron Music. When he shared an email with his 30,000 clientele announcing they were reopening to fully-vaccinated customers only, he received up to 25 emails back angry about the decision.

“No way am I coming to your store now, you are endorsing the vilest of human behaviours,” read one of them.

“You have a choice. You tell the government to go f..k themselves or go out of business.”

Side note: choosing to get angry at a business for following the government’s COVID safety guidelines to reopen, which they need to do so that they don’t cop a fine and can stay open, is a fkn bizarre stance to take.

“We’re being abused and told that they hope we go out of business,” Ursino told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

“We’re being called Nazis and all this really horrible stuff. My mother’s background is German so somebody calling me a Nazi is not a very nice thing to be called.

“What that suggests is something so nasty and so wrong in our history of the world to be compared to the murder of six million people over a vaccine mandate just so businesses can reopen. It’s the height of misplaced free speech.

“I don’t understand the vitriol and the aggression toward businesses when they’re all being told [to only reopen for the fully-vaccinated]. I just can’t understand how that is happening when every single person is playing on the same rules.”

“No one should ever have to go to work and deal with that, not me or any of my employees. But unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, hospitality and retail, that’s a real scenario we’re going to have to deal with.”

Some businesses are afraid of talking about the new vaccinated-only policy

Early into this multi-month-long lockdown in NSW, NSW Police arrested anti-maskers at an organic grocery store in Bowral and the founder of Rashays over a face mask dispute. A bunch of bars in Bondi were slapped with a seven-day ban after confusing claims that they encouraged people to loiter around the area before they seemingly embarked on a cheeky “Locky-D bar crawl”.

Thousands have taken to the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, many of them maskless, to violently protest against lockdowns, mask-wearing, and vaccines. Then there was a group of picnickers who were literally attacked by a family of anti-vax thugs and their dog.

We’re seeing more and more influencers and reality TV stars reveal themselves as anti-vax—side note: how embarazzing, aren’t you embarazzed???—and giving a voice to a vocal minority.

Meanwhile, in preparation for Freedom Day, some businesses have been asking their customers to be vaccinated and getting a lot of unfair backlash for itWhen NAB jokingly renamed themselves to JAB, anti-vaxers came out of their caves to claim they were selling their shares and changing banks ASAP, which is funny because I didn’t know clowns were part of the 1%.

So, reading all that, it isn’t all too surprising to hear that the response is turning some businesses away from talking about their new vaccinated-only policy.

“I’ve met a lot of businesses saying, we’re not going to send an email out because they’re too scared of the response,” Ursino said.

“My issue with that is then you’re not communicating the law properly. If you don’t put the information out there, and somebody comes in and has an issue, you’ve got no ground because you haven’t set the standard upfront.”

Others say they are preparing to hire a security guard to help police these new COVID guidelines, which, according to Ursino, could “get really messy really quickly”.

“Well, can you imagine? I mean, we’ve all seen what happens at nightclubs, people were drunk or our security guards, it can get really messy really quickly.

“It’s the same. It’s the same principle. Like you’re pouring petrol on fire.”

The next few weeks will be challenging for anyone who works in a front-facing customer service job

While the next few weeks will be particularly challenging for businesses, Ursino believes that things will be easier by December.

“I think what’s going to happen is after the first week to ten days, everything’s going to normalise and people are going to realise that this is just a new world that we live in,” he said.

“By December when we get to a certain level, it’s going to be pretty much the majority of the population that is vaccinated. It’s going to be a really interesting week, next week, I think we’re going to have people on their high horse and sort of getting upset in the interim.

“The ones that have been super aggressive and super defiant about it, a lot of those people need to understand the position that business owners have been in the last 12 months. A lot of people have lost their jobs, and people have lost their businesses because of this COVID thing… None of us want to police this.”

He continued: “Some of these people are threatening, and they’re people that have made it very clear that they’re happy to make their voices heard whatever way possible. Our concern is obviously the safety of our staff and that nobody deserves to go to work and be threatened.

“I can see a definite concern for people who work in hospitality and retail having to deal with these sort of stresses and I think that what’s going to happen as well as, as time goes on, is it might get less and less, but if people’s guards are down, and all of a sudden they’re getting threatened and abused and yelled at and told that they’re a Nazi, that could be completely detrimental to people’s mental health.”

So, pour one out for your local retail and hospitality worker who needs some love and support in the next few weeks. They’re going to absolutely go TF through it.