Bach owner frustrated with inability to keep unvaccinated guests out
A Lake Taupō vacation home owner who only wants fully vaccinated guests staying at her property has been told that it would not be possible to have this condition as a condition.
Penelope Christoffel, who lists her Kuratau property on Bachcare, has contacted the vacation home management company following the government’s announcement that it will introduce vaccination certificates to ask if it has established a policy requiring that guests be vaccinated.
When told there was no policy in place at this point, Christoffel asked if owners using the platform could have their own vaccine requirements.
He was told it would be “extremely difficult to monitor”. Christoffel pointed out that if vaccination certificates were to be required in other locations, they could certainly be used for accommodation as well. She then requested that her list be amended to indicate that “fully vaccinated” guests were welcome.
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Bachcare later responded by saying that he made the decision not to insist that guests present proof of vaccination and that it was not possible to add a special condition to a list requiring that guests be fully vaccinated.
The mandatory post-stay cleaning requirement “should be sufficient,” but Christoffel could also request a Covid Tracer QR code, Bachcare said.
Christoffel said Thing she was disappointed by the company’s inaction on the issue.
“I know this is a trap because if they have a policy they will get a reaction from the anti-vaccines… they might say, ‘This will hurt our business.’
“But blockages are hurting their business. Anytime an unvaccinated guest stays at a Bachcare property and then spreads the virus, it’s bad for their business.
“It seems strange to me that they don’t protect their business by saying ‘only people who have been vaccinated’.”
Bachcare’s point on cleansing was also “completely irrelevant,” she said.
“Housekeeping does not prevent people from going to supermarkets and cafes and sitting next to someone on the beach.
She was also frustrated that the company wouldn’t at least let the owners make their own calls to find out who was allowed to stay.
“I feel very strongly pro-vaccination and I just want to help spread the message,” she said.
“The people who have chosen [not to be] vaccinees should realize that this does not mean that they can still travel across the country, as they should not be allowed to do so.
In a statement, Bachcare chief executive Matthew Clews said they were constantly monitoring government recommendations for the accommodation industry, but at this point there was no way to verify the vaccination status of customers booking online.
“We understand that some bach owners may prefer to wait until there is an official government policy on vaccine requirements for accommodation providers and these owners have the option to suspend rentals until there is more certainty, ”he said.
“Our current goal is to provide contactless services as well as maintain the highest hygienic standards during our cleaning. “
Bachcare isn’t the only vacation home platform requiring a vaccine for guests.
Holidayhouses.co.nz spokesperson Gavin Lloyd said in a statement that they do not currently require tenants and guests to be vaccinated.
Although they fully supported the government guidelines on vaccinations, the role of their platform was to “facilitate the transaction between landlords and tenants”, with each landlord being responsible for defining and enforcing their policies. own policies, he said.
Airbnb also stopped before introducing a vaccine requirement for guests. Airbnb public policy manager for Australia and New Zealand Derek Nolan said in a statement that hosts and individual guests were “strongly urged to ensure that they comply with local health guidelines “.
While Bookabach did not have a general vaccine policy, he said in a statement that he encouraged vacation home hosts to share any Covid-19 vaccine and testing requirements for customers on the details page. of their property. The platform made it easier for hosts by adding more options to select when registering their property.
Dr Andrew Chen, researcher at the Koi Tū – Center for Informed Futures at the University of Auckland, said accommodation booking platforms face the same problem as the event ticketing industry, namely that there was no way to confirm that a person was vaccinated at the time. reservation.
To make this possible, the Ministry of Health would need to provide an interface that would allow individual businesses to become accredited to apply for a client’s vaccine status.
“There is a lot that needs to be done to make sure everything is done safely and to ensure that companies cannot just apply for vaccination status to anyone they want,” Chen said.
“I don’t see this happening soon. “
Along with the vaccination certificates, they would be presented in person, upon entry, Chen said. So if a vacation home owner wants to have a guest-only vaccination policy, someone will need to be available to check their vaccination certificate upon arrival.
“If you can’t get someone to check in in person, it just won’t work. “
However, Chen said accommodation platforms could at least add a checkbox on their booking pages asking if guests have been vaccinated.
“People can lie – but it’s still a barrier, and some people won’t lie. “