Duchess takes a stand against the virus

Restaurant management at the Duchess of Wisbeach will only allow those who have proof of vaccination, or a letter from a doctor that says they can’t get the vaccination for health reasons.

The Duchess of Wisbeach owner, Theresa Beukes, says it was not an easy decision but she is sticking to the resolution of not allowing unvaccinated people into her restaurant.

Ms Beukes made the choice last month for the safety of her staff and patrons.

“If you have proof of vaccination or a valid PCR test within 72 hours or a letter from a doctor that says you can’t get the vaccination due to your health, then you are allowed to dine at our restaurant, so it’s not just vaccinated people,” Ms Beukes explained.

“What stimulated my decision is that in Europe they are applying it, restaurants there are asking for proof of vaccination and I thought why are we not doing it here? I was nervous about making the decision but I could not subject my staff to being in such a position (of spreading the virus) and I don’t expect customers to support me if they are not in a safe environment,” she said.

Ms Beukes says the pandemic nearly destroyed her business but with the decreased levels they are slowly getting back on their feet.

“We have received more positive feedback than negative feedback and we are doing well. We sticking by our decision and morally I feel much better about this, my staff are happy.”

Ms Beukes asked a doctor from the Somerset hospital to speak to her staff about the Covid-19 virus and what vaccination is about.

“I told my staff they are not obligated to take the vaccination. We had a doctor visit us and explain what the vaccination is about and how it affects their bodies and everyone working here is vaccinated, each one of them decided to take it,” she said.

Ms Beukes added that she does not know of other venues applying the same rule but that she has heard about people having private parties and requesting their friends to produce their vaccine certification.

The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the umbrella association for hotels, restaurants and conference centres, said it was up to individual businesses to implement a vaccine mandate, or not.

“Fedhasa supports vaccination as the only sustainable solution for our economy to stay open and our industry to get back to some level of normal trading, but it would be the business decision of each member whether they wish to implement a vaccine mandate or not,” said national chairperson, Rosemary Anderson.

Ms Anderson added that legal certainty was urgently required.

“We would like government to provide this as soon as possible so that businesses can make decisions from an informed basis.”