Businesses can refuse service to sick customers as containment efforts continue

People with flu-like symptoms can be turned away from any shop or workplace as part of measures to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said he would “protect” and “defend” the rights of business owners and employers to turn away customers and staff members who are unwell.

“All of us over our lives have been on occasions wanting to soldier on with a cold and a flu, flu-like illness – we cannot do that anymore,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“If one of your colleagues, or an employee, or a client turns up you have every right to say, ‘go away, I am not going to let you in, I am not going to treat you’ ... unless you’re a doctor, of course.”

Professor Murphy also warned Australians against hanging out in shopping centres as states and territories begin easing their coronavirus restrictions.

“We have also seen pictures of people crowded in shopping malls, in other circumstances where they have not been observing the social distancing norms that are part of our new way of behaving,” he said.

“So if you’re going to a shopping centre to buy something, go and buy something but don’t hang around the shopping centre for half-an-hour mingling for no purpose – go home.”

Professor Murphy said Australia could risk seeing another widespread community transmission, also known as “second wave” of coronavirus, if people fail to uphold social distancing norms and hand hygiene practices.

“It is as much about the rules and regulations as it is about personal responsibility and I really want to emphasise that point,” he said.

Preventing widespread community transmission is vital to protect the elderly and those with chronic conditions, he said.

“People have said to me, why don’t you just protect really carefully all those with chronic conditions and the elderly; make sure they are well cocooned away from everyone else in society?” he said.

“As we have seen already, that’s just not possible, if you’ve got widespread community transmission. This virus is incredibly infectious.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.