Supermarket bans unvaccinated shoppers despite being an essential service

A supermarket has made the move to not allow anyone not vaccinated against Covid-19 into its aisles even though it is deemed an essential service that should be available to all. Grocery Chain IGA has made the rule that bans unvaccinated shoppers in its Yulara store in the Northern Territory of Australia, within the Ayers Rock Resort. 
IGA is a popular chain of stores across Australia, owning 1,455 outlets around the country. Their decision to refuse un-jabbed customers comes after the Northern Territory introduced their version of the vaccine pass system on 10 January. 
Their version of the controversial vaccine passport means that anyone over the age of 16 now has to show proof of a double vaccination to enter “high risk” hospitality venues, such as cinemas, theatres, casinos, restaurants and pubs. Those without the proof of vaccination are not allowed to access these settings, but should still be able to access essential services like supermarkets. 
The move that bans unvaccinated shoppers from the store has been welcomed by tourism operator Voyages, the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC), Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and the Northern Territory government. 
MCAC chief executive Thalia Bohl-van den Boogaard also backed the decision and said that everyone in the Mutitjulu community still had access to a community store or fuel station to buy essential groceries. 
 The Northern Territory recorded 418 new Covid-19 cases yesterday 18 January. This is down from the record 625 cases in the 24 hours before that. Australia had its highest one-day death toll from the pandemic on Tuesday 18 January, with 77 fatalities reported.

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Claire Gordon


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