Bar Owner Lost £55,000 After Woman Infected With Coronavirus Visited Premises
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A bar owner in Queensland, Australia, has revealed he lost around AUD $100,000 (£55,000 / US $70,000) in revenue after a woman infected with Covid-19 visited the premises when she was supposed to be self-isolating.
Olivia Muranga visited Cowch Bar in Brisbane's Southbank for a cocktail back in July, despite the fact she was waiting for the results of a coronavirus test.
The 20-year-old later found out she was infected, but by that point, she had already left a trail of destruction.
Arif Mendes, who owns Cowch Bar, said her decision has not only affected his profits, but also his business' reputation.
Speaking to Nine's A Current Affair, Mendes said: "The month of August sales got affected about $100,000 dollars down. It was very, very tough.
"We had customers calling and upset with us. There were people around us saying 'Were you there Arif? Don't come near us, don't come to your local gym.'"
Mendes managed to keep his bar open in the wake of what happened, but five of his staff were forced to self-isolate for two weeks, as they had been working when Muranga came in for a cocktail.
On top of this, 15 other workers had to be tested, also self-isolating for three days.
"That was pretty tough for all of them," Mendes continues.
"Trying to support them through that period not only financially but with their mental health.
"These things unfortunately they happen and it's a pandemic. But when there is a carelessness involved by a couple of people, that's un-Australian."
Muranga is one of three women who allegedly lied about coming from Melbourne in order to enter Queensland without quarantining.
Muranga, Diana Lasu, 21, and Haja Timbo, 21, flew from Melbourne to Sydney before heading back to Queensland, with police saying they lied on their border pass about travelling from a coronavirus hot spot.
At the time, Melbourne was battling high numbers of coronavirus cases and had been placed under lockdown, while Queensland was virtually free of the virus.
It is believed Muranga and Lasu contracted coronavirus during their trip to Melbourne, while Timbo did not, but all three visited multiple businesses in Brisbane while potentially infectious.
They were fined AUD $4,000 earlier this year, as this is the standard penalty if someone enters Queensland after having been in Victoria in the two weeks prior without undergoing two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine.
However, they now face more serious charges of fraud and providing false or misleading information, which have a maximum penalty of an AUD $13,000 fine (£7,158 / US $9,215) or five years imprisonment.
When news broke about the trio's alleged actions two month ago, Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said she was 'bitterly disappointed'.
Speaking at a press conference, Carroll said: "They went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful, deceptive and quite frankly criminal in their behaviour and this is what has put the community at risk."
The women faced Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday (28 September) charged with fraud and providing false or misleading documents.
Each had their case adjourned, meaning Timbo's case will be heard on 21 October, while Lasu and Muranga's fall on 28 October.