Canberra business leaders are calling on employers to encourage their staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19, with the territory's peak business body warning the Melbourne lockdown and alerts on the ACT's doorstep are a "wake-up call".
Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Graham Catt estimated the cost of Melbourne's lockdown to the economy to be more than $1 billion.
However, he said "the real impact on individual businesses, their owners, the people they employ, and their families will be severe and felt for many months to come".
"For anyone in doubt that Covid can impact any city, and any Australian, the swift Melbourne lockdown - and contract tracing alerts as close to home as Goulburn and Jervis Bay - is a wake-up call," Mr Catt said.
The chief executive's comments came on Thursday, the first day of the ACT's Covid vaccination program being expanded to include people aged between 40 and 49.
Mr Catt said the business chamber and Canberra industry leaders were calling on employers to promote getting vaccinated against COVID-19, and to support workers' access to it.
He said employers were rallying behind the vaccine effort in several ways, including by making it clear to staff that they would be supported when booking and attending a Covid vaccine appointment.
"Booking and attending a Covid vaccination appointment is a priority that will be supported and comes before other work," Mr Catt said.
Mr Catt said they were also making it clear that, while businesses supported their staff getting vaccinated, getting vaccinated against Covid was a choice and "a decision not to vaccinate will be respected".
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: