September 7, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Major hotel owner Dr Jerry Schwartz has come out in favour of mandatory vaccination for face-to-face businesses and put his proverbial money where his mouth is by mandating vaccination for all staff at his Paradise Resort Gold Coast.

While two of his other 14 hotel properties across Australia are currently part of the national quarantine system for returning international travellers – meaning staff there are already required to be fully vaccinated – he would like to see staff across all his properties, which include Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, Hilton Surfers Paradise, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley and Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, also vaccinated. However, with these properties under management of major hotel brands, this is not within his direct control.

Schwartz is aiming for all staff at Paradise Resort Gold Coast – which is directly managed by the Schwartz Family Company – fully vaccinated by the end of November. It’s a longer timeline than he’d like but it takes into account current shortages of Pfizer vaccines, the recommended vaccine for those under 60, which many of staff are.

“As both a medical doctor and a hotel owner, I believe that any face-to-face business, especially if it involves children, needs to have fully vaccinated staff,” said Schwartz.

“The hotel industry has been devastated by COVID and policies of governments, so it is essential we equip ourselves with the tools to drive a recovery once the country reaches 80 percent vaccination and travel returns to relative normality.

“However, we know that children under 12 cannot be vaccinated, and so to ensure the welfare of both our guests and our staff, we need to insist on mandatory vaccination, with the priority being for any staff who interact with guests, and then all staff working across the hotel.

“I have written to all staff at the hotel outlining the reasons for the mandatory vaccination and from initial feedback we believe that most staff are in full agreement, with many vaccinated and others in the process of getting vaccinated. After the disruptions to employment over the past 18 months, most can understand the need to take this initiative.

“It’s a case of vaccinate staff or the hotel industry could perish.

“I am talking to all the management companies operating my other hotels so that we can ensure that vaccination is implemented as a matter of urgency, as it is essential we place the hotel industry on the best possible footing to recover.

“Tourism businesses such as Qantas and Virgin have already announced that they will require vaccination for staff members and I believe the hotel industry should follow suit, given that we are a people-facing business which has a duty of care to ensure we eliminate risk for guests and provide a safe working environment.

“Not only do our guests have children aged under 12, so do a large number of our staff, and they are entitled to a safe workplace.”