The NSW government has introduced a slew of new restrictions in the 12 Western Sydney LGAs of concern, and one of them could seriously impact the very workers who have kept Sydney running during lockdown.
From Monday August 30, workers inside those 12 Western Sydney LGAs of concern will only be allowed to work outside their area if they’re at least partially vaccinated, or if their workplace has rapid antigen testing.
The new rule was apparently introduced because forcing workers to get tested the normal way every few days was apparently putting too much strain on the healthcare system.
“Clearly, our laboratory testing turnaround time have been impacted by the high numbers of tests undertaken and we had to make really difficult choices,” NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said at the daily coronavirus presser on Friday morning.
“What I am announcing today is that the authorised workers who work outside the local government areas of concern are only permitted to work if rapid antigen testing is permitted at that worksite or if the worker has had their first vaccination dose by the 30th of August.”
A huge number of warehouse staff, couriers, food delivery riders and other essential workers live in those 12 LGAs and work all over Greater Sydney.
Sydney is dependent on their labour now more than ever while the rest of us stay home.
While wanting workers to get vaccinated or wanting workplaces to offer rapid antigen testing are both noble goals, this rule could have a serious impact on who is able to work, and also for the rest of Sydney in terms of being able to rely on these workers.
If the government wants to go this hard, then it needs to ensure that enough people can get jabbed in time.
If you’re in those 12 LGAs of concern and aged 16-39, there’s now a specific scheme available for you to get the Pfizer jab. Alternatively, you can rock up to a bunch of different pharmacies and vaccination clinics to get the similarly-effective AstraZeneca jab.
Let’s hope that health authorities can jab everyone quickly enough so that these new rule don’t impact workers too much.
All adult Aussies (yep, even if those of us under 40) are currently able to get the safe and effective AstraZeneca vaccine through a GP. Click here to see which clinics are offering it, and talk to a doctor to see if it’s right for you.
Alternatively, you can triple-check to see if you’re eligible for the Pfizer vaccine here.
The best vaccine is the first one you can get, and that’ll be our ticket out of this mess.