Covid-19: Restaurant staff wear exemption cords instead of masks


Staff at The Lotus-Heart restaurant on St Asaph St wore exemption cords instead of masks.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / Tips

Staff at The Lotus-Heart restaurant on St Asaph St wore exemption cords instead of masks.

A Christchurch restaurant is criticized for not being required to wear masks at work.

Concerns were expressed on social media after its emergence. Staff at the Lotus-Heart restaurant wore exemption card lanyards instead of masks in “a sort of coordinated effort.”

None of the staff at the St Asaph St vegetarian restaurant and health food store wore face masks when Thing visited on Wednesday, and many carried exemption cards as lanyards.

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Lotus-Heart owner Bhuvah Thurston declined to comment on Wednesday and raped all members of The press from his restaurant.

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A laminated poster at the entrance to the restaurant quotes the “business.govt.nz website” as saying “businesses are not required to make sure people wear face coverings” and gives instructions on how to “ask for an exemption card that they can show to customers”.

A Reddit post from a customer expressed concerns about the lack of masks worn by staff.

“This is one of my favorite places to have a vegetarian meal… when I heard about this I felt quite put off going back there during the ongoing pandemic,” they wrote.

The Lotus-Heart moved its restaurant to St Asaph Street after its branches in Cathedral Square and Colombo Street were damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / Tips

The Lotus-Heart moved its restaurant to St Asaph Street after its branches in Cathedral Square and Colombo Street were damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.

Another user commented: “Thanks for letting us know. I was just about to make a reservation. I’ll be clear now.

Another wrote: ‘I wonder if they are as jaded about hygiene and food safety requirements as they are about Covid requirements. “

The Lotus-Heart Restaurant reopened on St Asaph Street in July 2011, with an adjoining health and music store, after its Cathedral Square and Colombo St stores were destroyed in the earthquakes of 2011.

Bhuvah Thurston runs the Lotus-Heart Restaurant in Christchurch.

Stacy Squires / Stuff

Bhuvah Thurston runs the Lotus-Heart Restaurant in Christchurch.

The restaurant was born from Thurston’s association with Sri Chinmoy – an Indian spiritual teacher – and the staff are his “students”.

All of the staff meditate and when preparing food they are aware that energy will affect what they create.

Sri Chinmoy was an ultra marathon runner who believed that people transcended their abilities while running.

University of Otago public health professor Michael Baker said it was “highly irresponsible” for any indoor public gathering space not to feature masks.

“Staff need to lead by example in these places and establish a mask wearing standard.”

The masks were found to be very effective in reducing the transmission of Covid-19 and, along with the vaccinations, were the keys to managing the spread especially of the Delta variant, which had airborne capabilities as seen in previous cases of ” super spreader, ”said Baker. .

“A staff member may feel good and think that coming to work is the right thing to do, then infect everyone they come in contact with. “

Baker has heard anecdotally about some people making masks with exemption cards and said it takes a more stringent process to get one, with the approval of a general practitioner.

“In reality, the number of people with legitimate mask or vaccine exemptions would be very low, and they’re unlikely to work in a customer-oriented role anyway,” Baker said.

“It really needs to be investigated. “

Professor Michael Baker, an infectious disease and pandemic specialist, says it is

Ross Giblin / Stuff

Professor Michael Baker, an infectious disease and pandemic specialist, says it is “highly irresponsible” for any indoor public space not to feature masks. (File photo)

A police spokesperson said mask exemption cards were not required under the health ordinance, and those who were exempt from wearing a face cover did not have to provide it. evidence.

They said police would investigate reports of people not wearing face coverings on a case-by-case basis.

“The police encourage people to do the right thing and comply with the requirements in place for everyone’s safety.”

A spokesperson for WorkSafe said the agency has encouraged all New Zealanders to wear face masks if necessary to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“This is even more important given the news of confirmed cases in Christchurch.”

The Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 required people to wear a face mask when entering a business, unless they were exempt from it, they said.

“The company is right in that it doesn’t have to force people to wear masks; nor should they investigate a person’s specific reason for obtaining an exemption.

“However, a range of actions can be taken by law enforcement officers across government if Covid-19 non-compliance is identified.”

WorkSafe will contact the Lotus-Heart “in due course to ensure it is aware and complies with all of its Covid-19 responsibilities,” the spokesperson said.


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