The survey commissioned by business network The Entourage also found that a further 15 per cent of business owners would wait a year before considering taking a vaccine.
The federal government said it would not make a coronavirus vaccine compulsory for all citizens, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison backtracking on comments he made in August that he wanted the vaccine to be as mandatory as possible.
The Entourage founder Jack Delosa said that while most of the business owners in his network are largely pro-vaccine, he also said he can “see both sides of the coin”.
“As a business community, we are going to have some tough decisions ahead about who will be able to attend our in-person events when they fire back up,” Mr Delosa said.
“Our largest event, Unconvention, attracts more than 3,000 business owners every year, and having unvaccinated people in the crowd would be concerning for my team and our attendees.
“It’s a tough road ahead for the small-business community, with a lot of difficult decisions that need to be made. And as long as small-business owners remain divided along ideological lines, the challenges they’ve faced this year will only be exacerbated.
“We need clarity, leadership around the issue and a united approach — anything short will only set us back even further.”
One of the business owners interviewed for the survey, Craig Schulze of fitness business The One Shot Movement, said a mandatory vaccine is “un-Australian”.
“I’ve spent nearly 20 years in the health and fitness arena, and I have always believed in a prevention-first approach,” Mr Schulze said.
“It is beyond clear that the immunocompromised, vulnerable and at-risk in our community need to be protected, but for everyone else, we need to open the economy with a common-sense approach and focus on good hygiene and social distancing.”
However, another business owner surveyed, Kate Liedtke of interior design business Catherine de Meur Interiors, said it shocks her that so many business owners would not be vaccinated.
“Business owners have faced so many challenges this year, and the more traction this specific anti-vaccine movement gets, the further the small-business community will suffer,” Ms Liedtke said.
“People want to get back to work and reinvigorate our economy, and the vaccine is the key to achieving that. My family and team will get the vaccine, but it shocks me that so many other business owners won’t.”