Queensland introduces big fines for coughing on essential workers

Published:

People who deliberately cough, sneeze or spit on public officials and workers including shop assistants could be fined up to $13,345. under a new COVID-19 Public Health Direction.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was acting to protect workers serving Queenslanders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our retail workers, police and paramedics deserve to be protected - I was disturbed to hear stories of people threatening to deliberately infect frontline staff,” the Premier said.

“It’s disgusting and I want police to throw the book at them.”

Health Minister Steven Miles said that while the risk of infection was low because there were so few cases, incidents could be very distressing for staff.

“Imagine going to work one day and having someone cough over you and then having to wait to see if you got sick,” Mr Miles said.

“That’s the kind of distress this is causing people.”

The Direction allows for a $1,335 on the spot fine or a court ordered penalty of up to $13,345.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the Direction, which will be in effect from Monday 27 April,  would serve as further protection for our frontline workers.

“Even during a global pandemic, our frontline workers show up to work each day to treat, protect and serve Queenslanders – and they should be celebrated for the heroes they are,” Dr Young said.

“This public health direction further enforces that any form of violence or aggression against workers will not be tolerated.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, any person who intentionally coughs, sneezes or spits at a public official or a worker, or threatens to do so, can be fined up to $13,345. They may also face criminal charges.

A public official or a worker is anyone at work or travelling for work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Health workers and Health Department officials
  • Police, fire and ambulance officers
  • Retail workers
  • Food delivery workers
  • Transport workers including ferry, bus and train crews and taxi and ride-share drivers
  • Council workers  
  • Electricity, gas and water meter readers
  • Airport workers
  • Teachers and school staff

SDA State Secretary, Chris Gazenbeek said retail and fast food workers have borne the brunt of a huge upsurge in customer abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We applaud the tough stance being taken by the Palaszczuk Government to protect essential workers," he said.

“There has to be zero tolerance for this sort of behaviour being directed at the amazing workers who have been keeping our community going during the COVID-19 crisis, whether it’s retail workers, health workers, police, public transport workers or any other worker.

“It’s disturbing that we’d need a law that stops this kind of disgraceful behaviour, but unfortunately we do.

“These are our neighbours stocking our shelves and manning our cash registers. They are also your friends’ sons and daughters and your colleagues’ partner or parent.  Sometimes we’ve all just got to step back and remember that we’re all in this together.”

JOINT STATEMENT
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles

 
Business & Economy Community Coronavirus COVID-19 Health & Wellness Law & Safety Lifestyle Queensland Government
Social:   

Annastacia Palaszczuk : Queensland Premier and Minister for Trade :
PO Box 15185, City East, Queensland 4002, Queensland Wide
07 3224 4500
Annastacia Palaszczuk : Queensland Premier and Minister for Trade
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Queenslanders unite to say 'thank you' this Queensland Day 03 June 2020 | This weekend Queenslanders are being encouraged to give a great big shout out to their fellow Queenslanders who have helped them through one of the greatest challenges the State has faced. More information...
Gympie jobs boost through COVID Works for Queensland 03 June 2020 | Gympie will benefit from job opportunities and new assets from bikeways and footpaths to sport and recreation facilities through $4.19 million from the Palaszczuk Government’s $200 million COVID Works for... More information...
South-East Queensland councils benefit from COVID Works for Queensland program 03 June 2020 | Communities across South-East Queensland will soon see the social, employment and economic benefits of the Palaszczuk Government’s $200 million COVID Works for Queensland program, with council allocations... More information...
Qld COVID-19 – Mon Jun 1: Tourism, travel boost / no new cases for four days 01 June 2020 | Tourism regions throughout the state will benefit from the Stage 2 easing of restrictions, with no new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Queensland for the fourth day in a row. More information...
Major easing of restrictions will open Queensland for Queenslanders 31 May 2020 | Queenslanders will be able to undertake unlimited travel including overnight stays throughout the entire state from midday tomorrow (June 1) in a major easing of Covid-19 restrictions. More information...
Qld COVID-19 – Thu May 28: More testing urged 28 May 2020 | More Queenslanders have been strongly encouraged to be tested for COVID-19, with no new cases confirmed and the number of active cases now in single figures. More information...
Qld COVID-19 – Mon May 25: Back to school / cases reduced / restaurant talks 25 May 2020 | Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has thanked school communities for getting ready for back to school, as zero new cases of COVID-19 and a revision of previous figures show a drop in the overall number of confirmed... More information...
All Queensland school students back in the classroom for Term 2 25 May 2020 | Queensland school students have returned to classrooms today with in-classroom learning resuming for all years. More information...
Luhrmanns lend hand for Queensland students 23 May 2020 | Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has welcomed a partnership with film legend Baz Luhrmann’s daughter Lilly to help international students impacted by COVID-19. More information...
Qld COVID-19 – Fri May 22: Public transport COVID-safe / no new cases again 22 May 2020 | COVID-safe public transport measures have been highlighted, as the Queensland public’s co-operation with COVID-19 health directions continues to result in encouraging figures, with no new infections confirmed... More information...


comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service