A spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria has not scared people away from crowded shopping centres, causing concern to those working in them.
COVID-19 testing centres have been set up at popular shopping centres, but some shoppers have been seen leaving testing centres and going straight into stores or, going directly to a testing centre after shopping, according to retail union SDA.
The union is contacting Premier Daniel Andrews and Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth asking for action to be taken as Victoria records a fifth day of double-digit coronavirus cases.
Gerard Dwyer, National Secretary of the SDA said at popular Melbourne shopping destination Chadstone, nurses at the testing centre told SDA representatives that they conducted 300 tests on Saturday and estimate that about 50 per cent of those people went into the shopping centre either immediately before or after they got tested.
The SDA estimates there were 70,000 shoppers at Chadstone on Saturday.
Mr Dwyer said this was unacceptable and against official advice.
“This is out of line with the recommendations of state and Commonwealth health authorities,” he said in a statement.
Official advice is that people who have even the mildest symptoms stay at home, and those who do present for testing return home immediately and await their test results.
Some SDA members have put up small signs at shopping centres asking shoppers not to enter shops from the testing centre.
But some staff at a number of centres asked SDA members to remove the signs because they were on their property and had not gone through the proper processes, Mr Dwyer said.
The SDA will soon speak with shopping centre representatives and encourage them to act by encouraging shoppers not to endanger their health and that of the rest of the community.
“Failure to do so not only risks the immediate health of the community, but could force new government-ordered restrictions that could cost the shops and shopping centres future business, and workers their jobs,” Mr Dwyer said.
Doing a better job of monitoring foot traffic is in the best interests of shopping centres as well as the wider community he said, but as they have “failed to take necessary action so far”, the SDA is calling on the government to step in.