Whanganui businesses are unsure of the full implications of the Government's Covid-19 vaccine mandate, with some worried about losing staff and having difficulty replacing them if they don't get vaccinated.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a sweeping vaccine mandate for any workplace that required a certificate of vaccination for entry.
These include businesses in the hospitality sector and others including churches, gyms, barbers and hairdressers, where customers are expected to have vaccine certificates.
"If customers must be vaccinated, so too must the workers," Ardern said.
The Government had already mandated vaccinations for people working at the border and in the health and education sectors.
Non-vaccinated workers in roles requiring vaccination will be given a new four-week notice period to get vaccinated before employment can be terminated.
Employers will be required to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and will need to keep records about workers' vaccination status.
Venter & Hull Chartered Accountants director Darren Hull said businesses would need to start discussions with staff as soon as possible and begin planning for all possibilities.
"They will need to identify as early as possible any staff who are not or don't want to be vaccinated and then talk through the implications of this decision," Hull said.
"Businesses will need to weigh up all their options, which may include losing key staff who refuse to get vaccinated and whose employment will likely end up being terminated.
"I know of some who will still not get vaccinated, even if they lose their jobs. Some of these people are in key positions.
"In those few situations, they are going to cause some of those businesses serious issues. I believe we will see some businesses fall over because they will not easily be able to find a replacement."
Despite the difficulty involved, Hull said the issue would not go away, so early and open conversations were critical for both employees and employers.
Another potential issue for businesses was that clients may end up dictating which option a business chose.
"Ultimately, the decision may not be yours. When Covid-19 arrives and maybe someone dies in our local hospital, people's perception of risk are going to change.
"You may have vaccinated clients who are not reassured by your processes where you keep unvaccinated staff.
"Regardless of who is right or wrong, if a vaccinated client is not happy, they may vote with their feet and leave. Client choice could, and will likely, dictate business choice."
Whanganui & Partners acting chief executive Jonathan Sykes said businesses most affected by these changes were already under stress, so another set of adaptations would be challenging.
"Supply chain issues and closed borders will continue to impact businesses. The Government needs to address these problems in order to enable economic confidence.
"Vaccine certificates can help those in the hospitality sector and small businesses to trade more freely but they won't relieve supply problems, or the costs of transport, border restrictions and other rising costs of doing business.
"The effects of these restrictions are cumulative and have a knock-on effect throughout the economy."
Springvale Cafe owner Lyn Crawford had expected some sort of mandate or law around being vaccinated in hospitality would come along.
"I am having difficulty convincing the last of my staff to get vaccinated. I do have concerns about losing staff, but I still agree with the mandate.
"I think it is something that has to be done."
Crawford said it would not be easy for people in hospitality to find jobs if they weren't vaccinated and it would be difficult to replace those who decided to leave.
"My biggest concern is that I will lose staff. I still agree with it and still think it has to be done."
Rivercity Boxing head trainer Eddie Tofa said it was a different world and people had to get on with it, whether they liked it or not.
"At the same time, people are worried about their rights _ it is a hard thing to juggle.
"It is my right if I choose not to do it, but it is the right of the business and the owners if they don't want to let you in."
Tofa said he would not stop unvaccinated people from training until it got to the point where he could no longer let them into the facility.
"To me personally, I won't stop people coming to the gym. I have that choice to make. But if it is going to be forced by law, we will have to change. I'm not anti-vax, and I have had the jab so I can run the place."
Sam Monaghan, of Monaghan's Barbershop, said he would do whatever was needed to keep the business open but wasn't sure about mandating the vaccine.
"I'm not anti-vax, I have nothing to do with those people. I've been an 'on the fence' type of guy. This has led to me having to get it.
"I don't think it is ethical either way. That you can only be served if you have the jab and have to be jabbed to be open. I just don't think it is right."
He didn't feel it was right to not allow unvaccinated people into his premises, but if he was going to lose business because vaccinated clients didn't agree with the stance, then his hands would be tied.
"You're stuck between a rock and a hard place."