Best&Less will refuse entry to unvaccinated customers in NSW stores from October 18, 2021.
The retail giant made the statement in a memo to Best&Less staff, which has been leaked on Facebook.
In the email to employees, Best&Less head of retail operations Joseph van Dyk said NSW “customers will need to be fully vaccinated to shop in our stores”.
Van Dyk also said NSW staff would have “will be required to be fully vaccinated as well”, asking staff to make their vaccination status known to the company.
“Best&Less is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our team members and customers,” Orro said.
“Our policy is to comply with all relevant state government COVID-19 guidelines and health orders.
“The NSW Government has indicated that all employees and customers of non-essential retail stores must be fully vaccinated before attending stores once the state reaches the 70 per cent fully vaccinated threshold.
“In order to comply with the NSW Government’s position, Best&Less is providing our team members with paid vaccination leave and will continue to keep our team members and customers well informed to ensure the safety of everyone in our stores.”
The leaked email to Best&Less employees – known as “Besties” internally – was made as the company prepares to reopen its stores when the NSW government lifts current restrictions.
“The NSW Government has recently started to outline their roadmap for easing restrictions in NSW,” van Dyk said in the memo.
“This is exciting news, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back to serve our customers and trade our stores as soon as the current restrictions are lifted.
“We are excited to be re-opening our NSW stores in October and would like your help to do so in the safest way possible.”
Van Dyk then went on to state “what we know so far”.
“We will be open from the Monday following the date when at least 70 per cent of people over 16 in NSW will be fully vaccinated,” van Dyke stated.
“At this stage, the government has indicated that this is likely to be on Monday, October 18, although this date could be earlier based on current vaccination rates.
“Customers will need to be fully vaccinated to shop in our stores.
“We have also been advised that all our Besties will be required to be fully vaccinated as well. Whilst we wait for official details on how that applies to us, it is important for us to understand your vaccination status so that we can comply with the impending NSW government directives.
“As a result, we are asking all Besties to advise us of their vaccination status prior to recommencing work in store. Your status is either ‘unvaccinated’, ‘single dose’ or ‘fully vaccinated’.
“If you are not fully vaccinated but you are booked in for a vaccination appointment, please also let us know when your appointment is.”
It goes on to give directions on how staff can provide their status – but says this process is voluntary at this stage.
“Please note that at this stage, providing this information is voluntary,” van Dyk wrote.
“This may change as the NSW government issues a public health order requiring all staff in-store be vaccinated, or if our Best&Less vaccine policy changes.”
He added that “we may need evidence of your vaccination status before you can return to work in store”.
Van Dyk ended his letter by encouraging staff to get vaccinated if they are eligible.
“October 18 is not far away,” he wrote.
“We strongly encourage you to get vaccination if you are eligible to do so. At the very least discuss the vaccine with your GP so you can make an informed choice.
“Don’t forget, B&L is happy to offer two hours paid leave to support you in getting your vaccine.”
Since being shared on Facebook, many users have supported the decision by Best&Less.
“This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Gladys said this is what the rules would be, Best&Less is just following them,” said one.
Said another: “Good on them, I’m double vaccinated so no issue here.”
Wrote one more: “Good job, other stores should follow suit.”
But others weren’t happy with the move.
“They’ve lost my business,” said one.
Added another: “Goodbye Best&Less. You have not only lost my business, but also my family, friends as well.”