8 November 2021

Probing the polls: mandatory vaccinations and restaurant no-shows

| Genevieve Jacobs
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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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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)

Scott Anthony8:47 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..

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.

kbbornandbred2:05 pm 08 Nov 21

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

Scott Anthony8:48 pm 08 Nov 21

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

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.

“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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