Rotorua businesses have faced abuse and aggression over the vaccine passport system, with one disgruntled cafe customer pouring coffee on the floor in disgust.
Under the Government's Covid Protection Framework, people need to show their My Vaccine Pass as proof of vaccination in a range of public settings such as events, hospitality, and retail - the latter of which is opt-in.
Over the weekend, an unvaccinated regular customer of the Rotorua Lotus Cafe poured his coffee on the pavement after being told to wait outside.
Staff member Ivy Pahn said the man had been happy to wait outside on Friday, but on Saturday became upset.
The man shouted at Pahn when she delivered his coffee outside. He shouted, "I will not come here anymore, I will never come here anymore, you cannot treat me like that."
"He starts opening the coffee, it's really hot, it's just finished being made and he poured it on the floor."
Pahn said she was "a little bit shocked because he is our regular customer".
"I just feel like, what is going on?"
The man immediately left afterwards.
Lotus owner Amy Nguyen said the man has not come back since the incident.
She said, "He threw the coffee on the floor to show his resistance in front of other customers".
Nguyen said Lotus wanted "to do the right thing" regarding the pass mandate, but it had lost a lot of customers.
The experience with the upset man left staff worried.
"We feel afraid to serve the unvaccinated," Nguyen said.
"We are not trained security personnel, so we are at risk while asking customers to show their pass.
"Who knows if next time will be physical abuse from someone else.
"This needs to be fixed. We are in the middle - do not ask us to risk our lives."
Markets Twelve 21 experienced its own incident with an unvaccinated business operator.
Despite the market's clear ruling that unvaccinated business operators could not come to the market as of Friday, one arrived and tried to forcibly enter the premises, said the market's business development executive, Julia Haira.
Haira said she was confronted by the man.
"It was actually a really nasty situation," Haira said.
Another man who was with him, who was also reportedly unvaccinated, entered the premises while Haira was distracted, she said.
Haira removed herself from the confrontation and went inside to calm down, where she said she was accosted by the second man.
He was "standing over me telling me that God was going to come down and smite me", Haira said. "It was really intimidating. It was scary."
Haira said business at the market was down 50 per cent on Friday. Several people had been turned away because of the mandate.
"There's a lot of fear at the moment. Regardless of what you believe in, people's fears are very real."
The market has since changed its vaccine mandate stance because of the Covid rules. Now, vaccine passes are only required for customers wanting to eat in the seating area within the market. Those who only want to shop are not required to have a pass.
"Businesses, particularly small businesses, are finding it extremely hard," Haira said.
She said the Government was "making businesses responsible for enforcing the new framework".
"I think it's really unfair."
Hennessy's Bar owner and Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty branch president Reg Hennessy said the industry was facing abuse all over the country but it was in "pockets".
"I don't think it's major - I think most people understand that we don't make the rules. We're just there to comply with them."
Hennessy said there had been a couple of "pretty disgruntled people" at his bar but they were not abusive.
The industry dealt with "all different types of people" but it was "very important" to look after staff, he said.
When asked what his advice was for businesses who faced abuse, he said "treat that as extreme".
Rotorua president for the Restaurant Association of New Zealand Sharon Wallace said the vaccine pass was "a new thing we need to adapt to" and businesses were "handling it very professionally".
"But it's just not fair on the workers."
She said the Restaurant Association was putting up regular posts for members on "how to deal with situations".