Business owners and members of the public need to use common sense and tolerance while we get through the Covid pandemic.
That was the key message from an impromptu meeting between regional business leaders, owners and State member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders. It comes after a young Dubbo mother, who is exempt from wearing a mask and was refused entry to a venue, pleaded for understanding.
There have also been reports of some staff members coming up against customers who are refusing to wear masks, without medical exemptions or valid reasons.
Dubbo Chamber of Commerce President, Matt Wright said both parties have rights and responsibilities.
"I know businesses are trying to be tolerant, but also customers need to be a bit tolerant as well," he said. "We have had a couple of instances where some businesses have some health-sensitive staff, and they're being exposed to this as well.
"Some customer-facing staff have exemptions to not wear a mask, and whilst they're doing their best to make sure they're not customer-facing, there's often times when they can't get around that."
Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders said most are happily obliging with mandatory QR code check-ins and mask wearing, but there's a small number of people who have been confrontational.
"Ninety-nine per cent of people are happily doing the right thing, there's a small percentage who are deliberately being obnoxious. Trying to stir up problems like that isn't helpful," Mr Saunders said.
"There were 40-odd businesses who joined us online (at the impromptu meeting), and said it was often their junior staff members who were confronted and they weren't sure what to do. At the end of the day, it's your right to enforce your rules."
There are lawful exemptions from wearing a mask. NSW Health lists examples of those lawful reasons as, "if you have a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable". It is not a requirement under that health order to provide documented proof.
Mr Saunders said the exemptions do not override a business owners' right to enforce their own rules.
"Covid or non-Covid, as a business owner, you are allowed to have rules of entry into your business, like dress rules," he said. "But if someone comes up and says - in a polite and pleasant way - 'look, I have an exemption from wearing a mask, but I really need to grab something, can you help me out?' - no business owner is going to turn them away."
Business owners can reach out to the Dubbo Chamber of Commerce, or direct to Service NSW for guidance.
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