Probing the polls: mandatory vaccinations and restaurant no-shows

Genevieve Jacobs 8 November 2021 22
Restaurant owners

Owner and executive chef of OTIS in Kingston, Damien Brabender and AHA ACT General Manager Anthony Brierley. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

As the ACT emerges from lockdown into whatever post-pandemic normal looks like, we’re wrestling with questions over mandatory vaccination in some frontline jobs.

Health care workers are now required to be vaccinated, as are disability workers and others who work with vulnerable people. But should the government mandate vaccinations in these areas?

“Yes, mandates are important to protect the young and the vulnerable. With such a high rate of community takeup in the ACT, the decision to vaccinate shouldn’t be an issue. Despite all the ‘Freedom Days’, this pandemic has not burned out and is still a risk for the vulnerable,” Aldith Graves wrote.

David Duncan said: “No to COVID passports as well. Don’t need papers to cross town. We aren’t China or the USSR.”

We asked, Are you comfortable with mandatory vaccinations? A total of 1,498 people voted.

Your choices to vote were No, it’s unnecessary and we should make our own choices. This received 32 per cent of the total, or 486 votes.

Alternatively, you could choose Yes, our collective right to health is the greater good here. This received 68 per cent of the total, or 1012 votes.

This week, we’re wondering how restaurant owners cope with no-shows, especially while there are still dining restrictions. Like many other restaurants, Kingston restaurant OTIS Dining Hall is currently restricted to just 25 guests, not enough to cover costs, but worth doing to get staff back to work and return to some kind of normality.

But one night recently, 10 out of 25 booked guests – or 40 per cent of the restaurant capacity – failed to arrive.

Daisy Chain wrote: “That really is disappointing; shows their ignorance. These guys haven’t had income for so long and to have people book their limited places and not turn up is unforgivable. Selfish. It’s just a phone call”.

But Yinan Zhang noted: “People are hesitant and flakey post lockdown as they are often two minds about things: the risk and benefit of going out, to spend or not to spend as they too may have been affected by lockdown. Perhaps they have also fallen onto a bad schedule/habit and find it hard to make themselves get to places on time. Lockdown just ended, give people a chance.”

OTIS restaurant owner Damien Brabender noted that “even when restaurants charge deposits and holding fees, some people demand it to be refunded and threaten the business with negative online reviews. The issue is not a lack of process, the issue is the lack of respect shown to service industries”.

Our question this week is:

Should restaurants charge an upfront holding deposit?

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22 Responses to Probing the polls: mandatory vaccinations and restaurant no-shows
Lily Rimanic Lily Rimanic 1:57 pm 10 Nov 21

Unless they are the most expensive restaurants ( with a clientele to whom money is no object ) they will see their volume decline with such an impost.

Nada Krstin Nada Krstin 12:22 am 10 Nov 21

No, not during these current uncertain times where you may get forced to isolate, due to circumstances beyond your control due to covid positive or close contact regulations.
You clearly book the restaurant reservation with intent to attend – if the gov rules then make you isolate – then the gov should be liable to pick up the cost of the ‘no show’ deposit.
I understand the hospitality industry is doing it tough (like so many other businesses), but to introduce this deposit and no refund for no show during this current time when restrictions & rules are changing every few minutes is just purely ridiculous.
Would support this any other time when life is back to ‘normal’ with no covid restrictions and lockdown.
With your article “OTIS … But one night recently, 10 out of 25 booked guests – or 40 per cent of the restaurant capacity – failed to arrive” – perhaps OTIS should have called all their no-show bookings to actually to ask why they didn’t attend?
Disagree with the comment from “Yinan Zhang noted: “People are hesitant and flakey post lockdown as they are often two minds about things” – poor excuse – this is not ‘flakey post lockdown’, just a reflection of who they truly are & always been, regardless of covid situation. These people intentionally made a booking that they should have honoured or called beforehand to cancel – not a hard task!
Please don’t punish the rest of the moral people with these sorts and make a blanket ruling of non-refundable booking deposits just during this current covid uncertain times.
For sure, fill your boots once life is back to ‘normal’ with no covid restrictions & forced isolation (and no excuses for the no-shows without calling prior to cancel)

Donna Watson Donna Watson 7:56 pm 09 Nov 21


Mel Casao Mel Casao 5:12 pm 09 Nov 21

I've went out recently and paid a deposit that can't be returned after a no show? I guess not every place is doing this though.

Henry Kivimaki Henry Kivimaki 8:28 am 09 Nov 21

Pay to book isn't a bad idea ...but what's an even better idea is to stop the draconian covid circus all together ?? ...

Glenda Waters Glenda Waters 7:42 am 09 Nov 21

I believe a deposit is reasonable with a refund if cancellation is made with enough notice to give the restaurant time to give someone off the wait list your table

Barb Jamieson Barb Jamieson 5:39 am 09 Nov 21

I am double vaccinated I believe it’s a personal choice to be or not to be. Don’t believe people should be losing there jobs if they are not vaccinated. It’s been ok for them to work through the worst of the pandemic and now they aren’t. Double standard’s if you ask me

Jenny Richardson Jenny Richardson 9:30 pm 08 Nov 21

I would absolutely support booking deposits. Businesses have been through so much, and rely on each and every person to turn up or to be able to fill their spot

Justin Gorringe Justin Gorringe 8:53 pm 08 Nov 21

Deposits seem reasonable

Scott Anthony Scott Anthony 8:47 pm 08 Nov 21

If Restaurants want to treat me like a cheat they just need to remember one thing, I too can cook… Lets see who goes broke and hungry first…!!

Get better at your game, all great eateries are constantly full for a reason..

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 8:41 pm 08 Nov 21

Of course I would and I wouldn't dream of no-showing without a trip to a hospital being involved. That's people's livelihoods!

Kathy Schneider Kathy Schneider 8:41 pm 08 Nov 21

That’s been the case for many restaurants in Sydney since before Covid. A lot of people used to just not turn up if a better offer came up.

Lisa LaMaitre Lisa LaMaitre 8:14 pm 08 Nov 21

Some venues have bought in a minimum spend.. some have booking fees. I wouldn’t mind paying a booking fee as long as it was refundable if there was another lockdown.

Keran Niquet Keran Niquet 7:35 pm 08 Nov 21


Peter Higgins Peter Higgins 7:22 pm 08 Nov 21

How about letting them trade and end the relentless communist nonsense.

Clarrie Crawford Clarrie Crawford 7:15 pm 08 Nov 21

And at 95% vaccination, the tin pot council still demand we wear masks. Where are the freedoms they 'promised'? Does Andrew Barr really expect people to wear masks for the rest of their lives?

kenbehrens kenbehrens 5:41 pm 08 Nov 21

The issue I have with upfront holding deposits is that it commits you to a minimum spend.
I saw in a similarly article suggestions by some people who said they thought a $100 booking fee should apply.
Personally, if I booked, I would turn up. I’m that sort of person, but demand money upfront and you’ve lost me.

kbbornandbred kbbornandbred 2:05 pm 08 Nov 21

Simple fix … restaurants collaborate with a database of names and phone numbers and ban the
no-shows !!

    Scott Anthony Scott Anthony 8:48 pm 08 Nov 21

    ‘Simple Fix’…? Who has the time and resources to verify and police this simple fix..?

    kenbehrens kenbehrens 10:39 pm 08 Nov 21

    People value their privacy and I’d expect would be reluctant to give up their full names and phone numbers.
    If booking details are given, it’ll be their first name, maybe just their surname, or maybe they’ll give their mate’s name if it’s his/her birthday party. Where there is a group, it could be anyone’s phone number given.
    Hard to ban someone and share their people’s data, unless you have it.
    Not so simple really.

    gooterz gooterz 11:24 pm 08 Nov 21

    “Simple fix” is to setup cartels?

    Anyone that wants to setup a database of users likely should end up in behind bars.
    May as well fix the prices while they’re at it.

    On a side not Facebook and others have announced they are doing this already with twitter and google.

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