The Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism has received numerous reports from businesses, concerned locals and even the police relating to customers who are flouting mandatory check-in requirements at Hinchinbrook businesses and subjecting staff and business owners to verbal tirades and abuse.
Hinchinbrook Chamber president Rachael Coco is concerned that if a local outbreak cannot be effectively and efficiently managed or contained, it could lead to a lockdown that may prove "catastrophic" to Hinchinbrook businesses.
She was also disappointed that while most consumers are doing the right thing, some people are taking their frustrations out on innocent staff who are simply trying to do their jobs.
"Hinchinbrook businesses are doing their best to comply with COVID safe legislation and no one deserves to be insulted or mistreated in the workplace - there's no excuse for abuse," Ms Coco said.
"Contact tracing is an important tool in stopping the spread of this virus and if the worst happens and the Hinchinbrook Shire experiences an outbreak, the impact could prove exponentially more harmful because people have been refusing to check-in.
"A local outbreak has the potential to be devastating, not just from a health perspective but from an economic and social standpoint too, so if you care about protecting our aging population, our small businesses and our way of life, check-in or stay home."
Ms Coco said she respected that some people had a moral objection to check-ins but reminded locals that there are options available to consumers who didn't want to participate in contact tracing measures.
"If you don't feel comfortable checking in, call the business you want to support and find out what alternatives are available to you," she said.
"Online orders, click and collect, phone orders, home delivery, takeaways and even carpark pick-ups are available to consumers who don't want to check-in and most businesses will go the extra mile to provide services that keep the community safe."
"I urge consumers to consider whether their personal opinions or objections are worth putting the health and wellbeing of our community at risk and will reiterate again and again that there is absolutely no excuse for abuse - our community is known for its good old fashioned customer service and small town values so let's not lose sight of who we are during these difficult times."
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