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NSW Southern Highlands shop owner, customer arrested over alleged COVID-19 breaches

A shop owner and customer were arrested in the NSW Southern Highlands after refusing to wear masks, as police implore people across the state to follow lockdown rules.   Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said the incident in Bowral highlights continued non-compliance with public health orders, including mandatory mask-wearing and travel, as Greater Sydney remains locked down due to a COVID-19 outbreak. He said the force issued 75 infringement notices and 12 court attendance notices in the last 24 hours.

It’s not on,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys told reporters on Friday.

“Right across NSW, we have seen police having to take action against people for breaching public health orders, whether that’s in some of the most rural and remote parts of the state or here in Greater Sydney. We will continue to do that while those public health orders are in place.

Police arrived at The Organic Store Bowral after receiving complaints that staff and customers weren’t wearing masks. Recent posts on the store’s social media spruik anti-mask and anti-vaccination messages, with some posts marked by Instagram as missing context or containing “false information”.

One Instagram post from August last year shows a sign displayed outside the store: “f you have had any vaccine the last 10 to 14 days, please do not enter!! For hygiene reasons, no masks in store, please.”

Deputy Commissioner Worboys said the excuse provided was “simply that they had no belief in wearing masks”, nor “intention at all in complying with the order”.

Southern Highlands

It’s not on. Police took suitable action,” he said.

In a statement, NSW Police said officers observed employees and customers not wearing masks inside the store and spoke with the manager. This 62-year-old woman stated she had no intention of complying with current orders.

Police said she was arrested after allegedly refusing to provide her details.

A 61-year-old female customer was also arrested after allegedly entering the store without a mask and refusing to put one on or leave the store when asked by police.

The employee intervened, demanding police leave, and both women were arrested,” the statement said.

As they escorted the women outside to a police vehicle, police said the officers were confronted by a 63-year-old man who allegedly yelled at officers before pulling down a sergeant’s mask. They went on to say the store “takes a stand against the mandatory mask mandates”. The footage was shared on the store’s Instagram page in a post claiming that police “forcibly arrested the owners without due cause”.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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