The controversial COVID-19 vaccination mandates in the Australian state of Victoria could be scrapped in the New Year.
In October, Premier Daniel Andrews said the mandate could be in place till April or even longer due to a spike in COVID-19 cases at the time. But now government officials say a series of incidents has led them to reconsider their approach.
“The high rate of vaccinations, the passing of the pandemic bills which sidelines the chief health officers, and the high-profile incidents of violence have led to a change of thinking,” a source told the Herald Sun.
The controversial coronavirus vaccination mandates in Victoria could be scrapped in the New Year as concerns rise over abuse towards retail workers who have to enforce the rules on shoppers.
The state government is looking at removing the directive in all but high-risk settings as early as January, according to the Herald Sun.
In October, Premier Daniel Andrews suggested the mandate could be in place till April or even longer due to a spike in COVID-19 cases at the time.
Government officials said a series of incidents of workers being abused for enforcing the jab mandate has led them to reconsider their approach.
“The high rate of vaccinations, the passing of the pandemic bills which sidelines the chief health officers, and the high-profile incidents of violence have led to a change of thinking,” a source told the publication.
“There will still be mandates in place in high-risk settings even after any change.”
Vaccination mandates in Victoria could be scrapped by January after a number of incidents against workers in the retail industry. Picture: Getty
In one case, a Melbourne bookstore has been forced to hire private security guards, at a cost of $4,000 a week, over attacks on staff members.
Victoria Police are investigating an incident where a Dymocks employee was allegedly pushed down an escalator after he reportedly asked a customer to prove his vaccination status and to check-in to the store.
CCTV footage showed the staff member try and stop the man, wearing a distinctive rainbow hoodie, from going down the escalator to the book store before he was pushed with his head hitting a step.
The worker is seen clutching his head as he laid motionless on the moving escalator.
A bystander pushed the emergency stop button as other Good Samaritans rushed to his aid. It’s believed he was treated for a mild concussion.
The man who pushed the staff member is seen going back up the escalator seconds later.
A man pushed a Dymocks worker for refusing to check-in to the store and show his vaccination status in Melbourne. Picture: Twitter
The staff member is believed to have suffered a mild concussion after the assault. Picture: Twitter
The owner of the store said it was the third incident linked to COVID-19 requirements at the store last Friday.
Other incidents include an elderly woman slapped a female employee and a middle-aged businessman shoved past a male staff member at the QR check-in area.
“We’ve owned this book shop for 20 years and we’ve never had a physical assault against any staff member, but we had three in one day,” Melissa Traderso told ABC Radio Melbourne.