A Melbourne top chef has slammed the Victorian government’s “insane” decision to lift vaccination requirements for hospitality guests but not for workers.
A Melbourne top chef has blamed the Victorian government’s ‘insane’ decision to lift vaccination requirements for hotel customers but not workers against his own health advice.
David Masters, who has worked at several of the country’s top fine dining restaurants, has been out of work since vaccination requirements were introduced last year and is “now cleaning toilets and garages for cash”.
The 42-year-old and his partner were forced to move in with his parents in rural Victoria to save money after leaving for a range of personal reasons – including the vaccines’ decision not to protect against Covid-19 to get vaccinated – no longer protected against transmission of the virus.
“When we found that it doesn’t, we had to weigh up whether or not we felt at risk of Covid – we’re both fit and healthy, non-smokers, relatively young so we didn’t want to take it,” he said.
But Mr Masters said the “biggest kicker” was his two-year-old daughter.
“I want our daughter to grow up knowing that she has full autonomy of her body,” he said.
“I felt like I wasn’t setting a good example for them if I just use it to keep my job. Prescribing me a medical procedure was a step too far.”
Mr Masters said it was clear vaccine mandates “make no sense” as the shots do not prevent transmission.
“I would have thought an honest medical community or government would have said we brought in the mandates [under that belief] But once it is known that the basis for the mandates is useless if there is no justification for them, a responsible government would abolish them overnight,” he said.
“Your reasons for moving on [the mandates] are strange. I see it more as punishment.”
Minister of Health on Wednesday Martin Foley confirmed Victoria would abandon most Covid-19 rules from 11.59pm on Friday but would defy other states if they comply with their sweeping vaccination mandates for workers requiring triple vaccination of critical workers such as health workers, teachers, geriatric nurses and trucks -Require drivers.
Others such as hospitality, office and construction workers must have received at least two doses.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Mr Foley on his best word new advicedated April 7 said vaccination requirements for workers should be phased out for the most part “at the earliest opportunity”, given Victoria’s high double immunization rate of 94.5 per cent.
“At this stage of the Covid-19 response, public health action increasingly falls under the responsibility of individuals, employers and event organisers, who rely less on government-imposed rules and regulations,” Prof Sutton wrote.
“As part of this shift, I am recommending that customer immunization requirements and some workforce requirements be phased out of regulations.”
Mr Foley has denied he ignored his own health advice but has yet to fully explain the rationale for the decision, which has drawn criticism from some health experts and the hospitality industry.
“We have to speculate as to why the Health Secretary decided to maintain the mandate,” said Professor of Vaccines at the University of Sydney Julie Leak told Age on Friday.
“The compulsion would have done its job by now if it had wanted to. I don’t think that the continuation of the mandate will result in high vaccination coverage because it would have already happened. It would have already put the people it was supposed to motivate over the line.”
Mr Masters said the decision to allow unvaccinated people back into pubs, cafes and patrons but “not allowing us to work makes absolutely no scientific sense”.
“Why isn’t anyone pointing out the obvious when these crazy policies are announced?” he said.
David Limbrick, Victorian Liberal Democrat Senate candidate also slammed the decision that says it “makes no sense to anyone”.
“Ridiculous that unvaccinated people can go to restaurants and pubs from Saturday, but because they are not allowed to work, they have no money left over for it,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I remember when the justification for mandates was to stop transmission. We must remember how quickly they used emergency powers to create a social underclass and how so many who are supposed to be concerned about ‘social justice’ and ‘human rights’ hailed them.”
On Thursday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was his “hope” that he would not have to extend the state’s pandemic declaration order when it expires in July.
“I certainly hope so,” Andrews said.
“I don’t know what independent expert advice I’ll get in the days leading up to July 12. It’s my hope that we don’t need it [an extension], or we need something less than that, or we need a different arrangement. That would be great.”
While the Covid-19 vaccination doesn’t prevent transmission of the virus, it does reduce the chance of serious illness or death, according to health officials.