There is no excuse for abuse, yet we are still seeing essential workers abused by customers. Spitting and coughing on shop assistants, public transport staff and police has been on the rise, and the NSW Government has said “enough is enough”. $5000 on the spot fines will be handed down to those who cough or spit on any essential worker, now including those in retail.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced the fines will also protect those travelling to and from work. He has made this Ministerial Direction under the Public Health Act 2010, stating; “This $5,000 on-the-spot fine sends a clear message that our community will do whatever it takes to protect these essential workers.”
SDA Secretary Bernie Smith is a firm supporter of the initiative. As the State Secretary for the retail, warehousing and fast-food workers union, he hears incidents of abuse like this happening with saddening regularity. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen vile attacks on our frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis, with people purposefully spitting or coughing on people trying to do their job and we welcome and commend this move by the NSW Government.”
These $5000 fines will send a message that abuse is simply unacceptable, and this disgusting behaviour will not be tolerated. The National Retail Association welcomes this hardline move to protect our retail workers.