Amber (47), Customer Service Representative. Canterbury, NZ.

We were business owners of a small country pub. We had taken it from a rundown pub, to a thriving, community hub, in 3yrs. We were loved by our community and we loved them. After the 3rd Dec 2021, neighbours never spoke to us again and other members of the community never returned. They told others to “boycott” us. We were selfish, uninformed, stupid, careless, dangerous people, overnight. In a small rural town, there was no medical privacy, the whole town knew our unvaccinated status and they all had an opinion. Some even said we forced staff to vaccinate and then sacked them. Others said we were getting a divorce. But hey, that's what mandates created….hate and division.

The lack of information leading up to the mandate date for hospitality, 3rd December (which I notice isn't on the government timeline.. insignificant to some, but a date we'll never forget) was problematic. We were asking Employsure weekly (a company we paid each month to legally guide us on all things contract/staff related) but they could not advise us as it was “not yet law”. Hospitality NZ had few answers too, they all just thought we were stupid for letting our business suffer and our staff lose their jobs over our decision. We ended up paying all staff 4 weeks and all leave owing, which of course was high due to most saving leave to take during the summer/xmas holidays. Roughly $26,000 in wages over a 4 week period when we had no income at all. Overnight, on the 2nd Dec policy changed to “you can do contactless”….after we had run stock to a minimum, prepared to shut and were working through redundancies for all of our staff. We wouldn't be able to afford to keep all staff on anyway going “contactless”. Who wants to go to a “contactless” pub, run by “antivaxxers” when you can go to another “fully operating” pub just down the road? Purely felt like punishment, we knew it wasn't for health reasons, how could it be when it was known the jab didn't stop transmission!

Why were you mandating in December when the vaccination rate was over 80%, in fact over 90% on the 16th Dec (according to your timeline). The majority of people were “safe”, were they not? Why were we forced to close our business in Otago on the 3rd of December when the first Omricon case wasn't reported at the border until the 16th December and in the community until the 29th December? We had to cancel all Christmas parties booked, at short notice, one of the busiest times of the year for us. No option to test daily? No other option at all, other than get vaccinated. Exemptions from our doctor were denied.

We had put the business up for sale in Sept 2021 and when we were forced to close on the 3rd Dec, potential buyers suddenly saw an opportunity to knock $200k off as it was closed and suddenly worth less than it was the week before…some of these buyers had once been friends/ex employees. We went contactless after that, with just family and friends helping (all we could afford) just so they couldn't say it was worth nothing.

In March 2022, we caught Covid, on purpose (like a chicken pox party) as we could see mandates were going to be dropped. We would finally be able to trade “normally again” after 4 months and couldn't afford to risk having to close again for 10days at a time, each time one of us caught covid. We all survived, and recovered within a week…and have never had it again.

The financial snapshot taken from our till system

2nd Dec 22 $19,656 (this is only 2 nights of trading 1st and 2nd Dec, our last night was hugely supported by many)

End of Jan 22: $13,710

End of Feb 22: $22,247

31 of March 22: $21,818

for comparison….31 of March 21: $126,272

We sold in March 2023, having run the place on minimal staff for an entire year trying to keep heads above water. The stress has taken a toll. It was your choice they say, no one forced vaccinations – the biggest insult and lie to us.

You can not make decisions based on fear. The Bill of Rights should stand, no matter what.

A comprehensive investigation into vaccine-related harms including in depth analysis of adverse events and reporting.

Analysis of the efficacy of the injections.

Analysis of the effects of masks and lockdowns.

Treatment of and the role of early treatment.

Censorship of doctors and other voices.

Ethics of the narrative around creating fear.

Greater transparency with accountability

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