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South Island Pushes For Double Vaccinations To Support ‘orange’ Traffic Light

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says there is a collective push in the South Island to encourage double vaccinations as businesses and the community look forward to moving to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework and more freedom to operate in the coming weeks.

A goal of 90% double-vaccinations for South Island residents is the aim of the ‘90% for the South’ campaign. This follows the initial 90forCanterbury campaign that helped to encourage and promote first-vaccinations by Labour Weekend. The campaign has the backing of all the South Island District Health Boards and will involve local Chambers of Commerce, businesses and organisations.

Ms Watson says the message has been very clear from the Prime Minister. "When moving into the new traffic light framework, vaccination rates for regions will play a part in determining which colour we move to. Our focus is on ensuring the South Island moves straight into orange rather than red and the race is on to get our vaccination rates as high as possible before next week’s announcement.

"Under the new traffic-light framework, businesses will be able to operate at all levels, with various restrictions and overlayed with public health orders, but we know from discussions with Government officials that the community does hold some sway as to whether we start that next phase at orange or red. To start at orange, we need to maintain momentum and get our double-vaccination rate up past the 90% mark.

"We implore all individuals to make getting double-vaccinated a priority, and all employers to continue their valued efforts to help promote and support employees to do so. This will ensure we can get our business community open and humming and making the most of an influx in visitors over summer - and when you consider that 50% of Canterbury’s total domestic visitor spend comes from Auckland, that increased spend over the summer will make a big difference to many businesses. It will also help to ensure our staff, community, whānau and livelihoods are protected - and we can all return to the way of life we enjoy - as we enter the next phase of our national COVID-19 response."

Ms Watson says the new South Island-wide campaign will build on the success of the regional Canterbury campaign.

"The 90forCanterbury campaign was hugely successful in raising awareness of the importance of receiving that first vaccination, and providing a collective focus for employers, and community groups to support their peers in getting vaccinated. It also helped to encourage conversations in the workplace and outside of the home as to people’s reasons for getting vaccinated and potentially addressing any barriers to doing so. In addition, we saw first-hand the success of creating community-focused events to help making that first step - and first jab - much easier and more accessible for many people."

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