Brisbane coffee entrepreneur Phillip Di Bella will defy Queensland COVID-19 restrictions for unvaccinated customers

Queensland coffee entrepreneur Phillip Di Bella says he will not “discriminate” people based on COVID-19 vaccination status at his cafe, despite a public health order that hospitality companies can only open to fully vaccinated customers from next month.

Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday that many businesses would only be allowed to serve fully vaccinated people when 80 per cent of Queenslanders over 16 were fully vaccinated, or from 17 December – whichever comes first.

In a video posted on LinkedIn on Tuesday, Mr Di Bella said his position was not about vaccination status but based solely on his concern that human rights were being undermined by the forthcoming public health order.

“It will not happen in my meeting place, I can assure you,” he said.

COVID restrictions must be lifted

Ms Palaszczuk said on December 17 that all COVID-19 restrictions would be removed at clubs, cafes, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, music festivals and stadiums, provided all staff and patrons were fully vaccinated.

People attending major sporting events at state-run stadiums must be fully vaccinated, and weddings can also return to normal if all participants and guests are double-dosed.

Two men close-up holding small yellow coffee cups with saucers on a wooden table
All companies in Queensland will be free to operate without restrictions from 17 December if they only serve fully vaccinated customers.(ABC News)

State-owned museums, libraries and galleries will also only open to fully vaccinated individuals.

“This is both a reward for the fully vaccinated and a precaution for when the borders open and we will see more cases in our community,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“People deserve to know that they can go to these places and that they are safe.”


‘Waiting in your head’

Sir. Di Bella said he strongly protested the new rules on human rights grounds and said it was not something I believe in.

“If you support them by imposing something like this – that you get your human rights removed in terms of where you can eat, where you can drink, where you can be together, where you can go based on whether you are vaccinated or not – so you have stones in your head and this country has gone mad, “he said in the video.

Dozens of people walk through Brisbane's Queen Street Mall, most are out of focus and the crowd stretches into the distance.
The business community has welcomed the announcement of government restrictions.(ABC News: Mark Leonardi)

The police will enforce the new requirements.

A spokesman for Queensland Health said it was recognized that some people had genuine reasons, such as medical conditions, for not being vaccinated.

“They will not be affected by the forthcoming rule changes,” Queensland Health said in a statement.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties President Michael Cope told ABC Radio Brisbane that the public health order could be argued as discrimination if someone had a medical exemption from getting the vaccine, which is extremely rare, or for religious reasons.

“From a civil rights point of view, this restricts the freedoms of the people,” he said.

“The question is whether this is justified and whether there are other methods by which it can be achieved which involve minor encroachments on the liberties of certain people.

Sir. Cope said such issues were always “balancing acts”, but since the new rules would be issued under a public health order and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, the requirements for companies would be law and companies could be fined for not cooperating . .


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