'Give exemptions, alternatives for the unvaccinated' - RTHK
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'Give exemptions, alternatives for the unvaccinated'

2021-04-18 HKT 18:02
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  • Kelvin Sin (right) says people should have the choice to undergo frequent coronavirus testing instead. Photo: RTHK
    Kelvin Sin (right) says people should have the choice to undergo frequent coronavirus testing instead. Photo: RTHK
The Democratic Party has urged the government to offer exemptions and alternatives for unvaccinated people when it launches its "vaccine bubble" plan, as concerns persist on whether people would be forced to take Covid-19 jabs under such policies.

Officials intend to ease Covid-19 restrictions soon – but only for those who have been inoculated against the coronavirus.

Since the announcement, at least one restaurant chain has told workers to get vaccinated if they want to keep working.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, the Democratic Party said it had received inquiries about the matter from people working in the catering, tourism and cleaning sectors.

District councillor Kelvin Sin said the party was concerned whether unvaccinated employees would be asked to temporarily stop working, if they would still get wages or if they would be fired.

"We are afraid that the employers will force the employees to take vaccines, and we are afraid that employees will be unemployed due to this reason", he said.

Sin noted that companies might violate the Disability Discrimination Ordinance if they lay off workers who cannot get vaccinated due to their health condition.

He said people should have the choice to undergo frequent coronavirus testing instead.

"The government should provide options for Hong Kong people, not only taking the vaccines," he said.

The Confederation of Trade Unions echoed Sin's views, saying that the government and business sector shouldn't make vaccination mandatory to workers.

At a street booth in Mong Kok on Sunday, the union's chief executive Mung Siu-tat called on workers to report to them if they were asked to get inoculated or faced suspension from work

"We will work out a blacklist of restaurants forcing the employees to do the injection, then we will give it out to the customers and citizens to make reference, whether they will visit this kind of unreasonable restaurants."

Catering sector representatives earlier revealed that the government was considering letting staff make health declarations if they are medically-unfit for a Covid-19 jab, and can instead undergo testing.

Officials also said businesses can choose to follow the existing social distancing measures if their staff are unwilling to have the vaccine, saying they don't want employers making vaccination mandatory.