Award-winning cafe closes – owner refuses to tell staff to get vaxxed

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By David Kelly

The owner of a popular Central Otago cafe has closed the doors rather than decide who can and can’t enter her business or tell staff they should be vaxxed to continue working for her.

Emily Todd owner of the Tarrass Country Cafe, which won the People’s Choice award for 2021, wrote on her Facebook page that “It’s taken me quite a few days to write this down, mainly because it makes me cry”.

She announced that Thursday 2 December 2021 was her family’s last day at our cafe.

“The cafe will be closed from Friday 3rd,” she wrote. “I cannot, and will not run my business when I have to discriminate against who I can and can’t employ, and who I can and can’t let in my doors.

“Thank you EVERYONE who has supported me over the years. We’ve had so much fun.”

Among the replies to the post included this: “Sad but congratulations to stand up for you and 8 of the staff values. Consider that you are just on leave until the next election or, may be, before…When the economy would have been so destroyed that they (Ardern) will have to step back and apply what was called “common sense” and “kindness”. Take care and thank you again for standing up.”

Another supporter wrote: “Love that you are brave enough to make this decision. There is such a stupidity that you can open today and allow everyone in yet on Friday you can’t. Blessings and peace be upon. Thank you for making a stand.”

One poster write: “Good on you for standing up for your beliefs! It can be really hard to do at times, but it is oh so important! Especially right now. I wish more people were as strong as you! Best of luck in the future!”

Other posters mentioned how hard it was to attract staff to work in hospitality due to lockdowns, travel restrictions and vaccine requirements.

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