Businesses in the south-west are copping abuse over "confusing and frustrating" rules with traders and customers struggling to understand the new vaccinated economy rules, an MP has warned.
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said she had been contacted by several businesses who had suffered abuse from customers this week because they had to ask for vaccination certificates.
Ms Britnell also called out the "confusion, inconsistencies and lack of common sense" over rules excluding children aged 12 years and 2 months and over from society.
She said with Victoria now at 90 per cent and all three local government areas her electorate above 95 per cent double-dose vaccinated, public health experts say there is no benefit in continuing to exclude unvaccinated people from retail stores deemed non-essential.
"The government will say it makes no apologies for keeping people safe, but are these current measures really keeping us any safer when our vaccination rates are already so high?" Ms Britnell said.
"It seems more like the government now wants to punish those who are not vaccinated, including some children, by excluding them from settings they deem non-essential.
"But all it is doing is making life tougher for small businesses at a time when they are trying to reopen, rebuild and recover.
"The Christmas period is a peak time for small business as they try and recoup some of the losses they have suffered as a result of seven lockdowns and a raft of restrictions over the last two years."
Ms Britnell said there was confusion around how retail outlets were deemed non-essential.
"I have had hardware stores contact me asking why they are deemed non-essential when they sell vital household goods," she said.
"It doesn't make sense. They just want the ability to serve everyone and we are at a stage now where vaccination levels are high enough for shops to have the ability to welcome everyone through their doors."
Mr Britnell urged customers to be patient with shop owners or staff who had to enforce the rules.
"Abusing shop owners and staff is unacceptable," she said.
"We need to remember the impact Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions have had on our small businesses.
"They did not make the rules, they have just been unfairly left to enforce them by the Andrews Labor Government."
Ms Britnell said the indefinite nature of the two-tiered system needed to end, like NSW which on Thursday announced unvaccinated people could return to non-essential shops, restaurants and gyms by December 15 at the latest.
Premier Daniel Andrews has said the government intends to lock out the unvaccinated throughout 2022.
Ms Britnell said she had been contacted by many concerned parents over the rules for unvaccinated children aged over 12 years and two months.
"We're not out of the woods, we still need restrictions and to manage the pandemic, but are we really needing to focus on the children at this point in time when they are feeling like they being discriminated against," she said.
"Parents are worried about them being excluded...how it's all going to work and the confusion. The children have already suffered enough."
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She said even experts were now questioning the need to enforce lockouts on unvaccinated children.
Ms Britnell said at that the start of the pandemic, shoes were considered essential but under the new rules unvaccinated people are shut out of shoe shops.
"Why are we now focusing on children and ostracising them. They've already been quite frightened. Is this dangerous? Shouldn't we just be embracing them and supporting them and not picking people off one against the other," she said.
She said children aged 11 were now having to prove they are not 12 to be able to go into shops. "It seems mad," she said.
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