LEETON shire restaurant owners Eric and Vanessa Pages say they are taking a stand when it comes to who they will allow to dine in at their restaurant amid vaccination rollouts and rules being put in place by the state government.
The pair run the popular Pages on Pine restaurant in Leeton and say they have been "pushed to the edge" following the announcement from Deputy Premier John Barilaro that unvaccinated Riverina residents will lose freedoms at 70 per cent state milestone.
This looks likely to include dining-in at restaurants.
The Pages said they believe believe NSW politicians and local members were "tone deaf" to the needs and practicalities of regional business sectors. They said they were "sick of country communities being penalised and made to suffer at the mercy of city people"
"Enough is enough," Mr Pages said. "We simply cannot afford to discriminate between paying customers. Restrictions and lockdowns have made business tough enough."
The couple said they have prided themselves as leaders when it cames to keeping the community safe and have taken COVID-19 seriously throughout the pandemic.
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"We have always gone above and beyond when it comes to our COVID-safe practices. We have even been commended by city clients who were amazed at how stringent we are for a regional town, they said not even Sydney restaurants have been doing what we have," Mrs Pages said.
The pair reiterated their stance was not against people getting vaccinated.
"We have clients who are vaccinated and who aren't ... we love them both as we believe it is their right to choose," Mr Pages said.
"My job is just to feed them and not police them on their medical choices."
The couple said they were concerned about the "derision this situation will cause in the community".
"We love our town of Leeton who prides itself as 'welcomers' of all people including refugees, migrants and settlers," Mrs Pages said.
"We have been honoured to serve to our clients over the last 18 years and are grateful to be on Wiradjuri land.
"However we are concerned that the peace we enjoy will be threatened by these proposals as they will create division and disunity in our community."
Discrimination was a topic Mrs Pages said was a personal one.
"My parents and their families migrated from Italy after the war and experienced segregation first hand when some clubs and various businesses in Griffith said 'no wogs allowed'," she said.
"We 100 per cent refuse to take part in any discrimination as it goes against every basic human right."
The Pages said they were also anxious about what was transpiring in Eric's home country of France in regards to what people can and can't do if they are not vaccinated.
"Hopefully Australia will not make the same decisions as France because the restaurants and businesses who supported the green pass are now facing extreme backlash and legal implications," he said.
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