By Brendan Rees
A kiosk worker says she is now too scared to return to work after a group of kids coughed in her face at Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre.
Paullie, who did not want her surname used, said she saw the group boys and girls run amok in the centre as she worked behind the counter of a phone repair shop about 2pm on Monday 16 March.
“They walked past once. I heard them coughing so I just looked at them and they just laughed,” she said.
The group then returned where their unruly behaviour continued.
Paullie said they “pretended” to enquire about the cost to fix one of their phones before one leaned over the counter and coughed straight in her face in a blatant disregard of social distancing and good hygiene as the country implements stringent measures to stem the spread of Coronavirus.
Paullie, who was luckily wearing a mask, filmed the horrifying incident on her phone.
She wanted to share her experience to not only highlight the bad behaviour but to deter others thinking about carrying out such pranks in the midst of the crisis.
She said other shopkeepers at the centre had been harassed in recent days – with other youths coughing in front of staff in what had appeared to be deliberate acts.
“Right now I don’t really want to work over there,” Paullie, 30, said, labelling the behaviour as “terrible”.
Nearby shops called security – however the video showed the group walking off as they appeared to continue coughing loudly and laughing in front of shocked onlookers.
The video was shared on Facebook by a friend of Paullie, who was concerned for her safety.
“I am disgusted and saddened that these kids have done this I honestly can’t believe it,” Eryn Clarke said on the post.
“This kind of behaviour needs to be stopped. It is already a highly stressful time for everyone without disgusting cruel behaviour like this.
“I’m hoping this video reaches the parents of these children as I’m sure they won’t be impressed with their kids terrorising people like this.”
Victorian schools had their last day of school term on Monday 23 March – which was brought forward by four days – however the Premier Daniel Andrews said holidays for children were out as the nation was placed in lockdown to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
Mr Andrews also reinforced calls for every Victorian to undertake practice social distancing.
“Call it mateship. Call it your civic duty. I don’t really mind. But please follow the rules,” he said.
“Don’t be closer than 1.5 metres from another person, wash your hands and practice good hand hygiene.
“Do that for yourself, your loved ones and for the loved ones of people you have never met. It will save lives.”