Bakery ‘left out to dry’ by Qld Health after expos...

Bakery ‘left out to dry’ by Qld Health after exposure

A small Queensland bakery owner has spoken out about the practices of Queensland Health after she was “left out to dry” following a COVID-19 exposure at her business.

Told by the department that a man with the virus had visited her bakery for a short time on March 25, Gin Gin Bakery owner Maree Baker told ABC News she went into “panic mode”.

“They said I had 25 minutes before it would be out into the public,” she said.

“I wasn’t a close contact, so I just needed a test, but three staff members had to quarantine for two weeks.

“They said I didn’t have to do a deep clean because the case was only here for a short amount of time, but that was only after I rang them back and asked.”

While Ms Baker wasn’t a close contact and only had to get a test, three of her staff members had to quarantine for two weeks, and she estimates the business lost about $20,000 as a result of the incident.

After the exposure site went public, the bakery was harassed and trolled on social media, with people saying it should be shut down. Throughout it all, Ms Baker said there was no support from Queensland Health.

“I felt I was just abandoned by Queensland Health—left out to dry,” she told ABC News.

“They didn’t care—they told us we had a case here and that was it.

“We had to do limited hours because I just didn’t have the staff, so that was a big issue—it was very hard.”

In Parliament, Small Business Minister Di Farmer acknowledged businesses declared exposure sites faced additional issues and challenges.

“That’s why in the couple of occasions that a lockdown has occurred, I have immediately convened meetings with peak small business bodies,” she said.

“I want to thank the Chief Health Officer [Dr Jeannette Young] because I’ve specifically convened those meetings so she can speak to those peak bodies directly.

“We know there are so many different ways those lockdowns and those exposure sites can be affected and we can’t even necessarily predict all of those ways.

“We work very, very closely with the Minister for Health and every single issue that is raised by small business at the time is dealt with immediately.”

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