New Zealand to impose vaccine mandate on restaurant, salon workers

New Zealand to impose vaccine mandate on restaurant, salon workers
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New Zealand’s government said Tuesday it will expand a vaccine mandate to thousands of workers who regularly come into close contact with their customers, the Associated Press reported. 

The new mandate means that 40 percent of New Zealand workers will need to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus or risk losing their jobs. 

Employees at restaurants, bars, gyms, and hair salons are under the new vaccine requirement. 

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The new mandate is an expansion from the 15 percent of workers who previously were required to be vaccinated, which included teachers and health care professionals, according to the AP. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters that she doesn’t think the new rules are an overreach on the part of government. 

“This requirement means staff and customers are treated equally and it will play a big part in helping to minimize the spread of the virus in the highest-risk venues by reducing the potential for COVID to enter the business in the first place,” Ardern said.

The new measures come as the government targets 90 percent of residents aged 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated in order to end lockdowns, the AP reported. 

The country is also requiring people who visit high-traffic businesses to show vaccine passports to prove they are vaccinated, the AP noted.