Gerry Harvey’s retail vaccine fears

By | January 14, 2021

Retail mogul Gerry Harvey fears consumers will avoid shopping at outlets where not all sales staff have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

The Harvey Norman co-founder said he would be getting the “jab” when the vaccine was rolled out in Australia and he expected his top executives to follow suit.

“Certainly, people like me will be taking it … we will be setting an example with all our top people, but I can’t imagine any of them won’t take it,” he said.

Coronavirus vaccinations are expected to start in Australia in February.

However, Mr Harvey has yet to form a workplace policy for his staff and doubts if he even will be able to.

Any business where all employees have been inoculated could use that as a marketing tool to attract customers at the detriment of other businesses, Mr Harvey said.

“It will be interesting to see how that moves because if your salespeople won’t take it, then do the customers come in?” he pondered on Nine Network radio on Thursday.

“They may say they won’t go to Harvey Norman because they’ve got staff there (who haven’t had the vaccine) … or you might advertise that every one of our staff has had the jab and it’s safe to come here.

“It will be interesting to watch.

“If one of your staff says they’re not prepared to take that jab, how do we treat that?”

National Retailers Association CEO Dominique Lamb was not as pessimistic about shoppers potentially avoiding outlets where not all staff have been vaccinated.

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She said the Boxing Day Sales were testament to the trust shoppers had in retailers to provide a COVID-safe environment for consumers even without a vaccine being available.

“The COVID-safe environment that has been provided is a very visible and meaningful thing for consumers … from sanitiser to wearing a mask … and in some cases temperature testing,” Ms Lamb told NCA / NewsWire.

“There’s no doubt the consumer is conscious of this, and we’ve seen people come out in droves during the Boxing Day Sales.”

Even if retailers wanted all their staff to be inoculated, she said no employee was obligated to get a shot.

“The casual nature of retail, it would be very difficult to manage,” she said.

“You either pay for it as an employer to ensure it is done or you ask for proof, and employees are not obliged to provide you with their medical records, so there is a privacy issue. “

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