A Victorian doctor has been praised after sharing a poignant photo in response to protests about Covid restrictions in Melbourne on Friday.
Nicca Grant, a Covid and ED doctor posted the photo of herself after work, in response to a tweet showing construction workers in Melbourne using roads for their meal break because they were unable to use their break rooms due to restrictions.
"I didn’t realise protesting against uncomfortable working environments was an option," Dr Grant wrote, alongside a picture of herself exhausted after a shift with marks on her face from wearing masks and PPE.
Protest felt like a 'slap in the face'
Dr Grant, who now works in inpatient psychiatry, said although she sympathises with the construction workers not having somewhere to eat and relax, acknowledging it can take a toll on people's emotional health and wellbeing, it's not an unfamiliar position for healthcare workers to be in.
"Healthcare workers have been in this very situation for almost two years now," she told Yahoo News Australia.
"Eating in cars, in outdoor tents during winter, or even on a curbside.
"We want to keep our colleagues and our patients safe, so we accept quite a high degree of discomfort."
Construction workers at sites across Victoria who can no longer use their tea rooms for meal breaks are instead using roads. It happened this morning and now it’s on again for lunch. Traffic blocked. Police at some. pic.twitter.com/MqeTid7puf
— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) September 17, 2021
Dr Grant said seeing construction workers protesting on the street felt like a "massive slap in the face" when so many peoples' lives have been disrupted by the virus.
"Not just for healthcare workers but for everyone who isn’t even able to go to work at the moment," she said.
"As someone with family in the hospitality industry, I was particularly annoyed at the blatant entitlement on display during those protests."
Over 2000 Twitter users liked the tweet, praising and thanking the doctor for her work and the powerful message.
"Thank you for your incredibly hard work and persistence. It must be exhausting as well as uncomfortable. I hope you get some respite soon," one user wrote.
"No time for those self-entitled folk," added another.
"I do thank you, and all medical teams for your amazing efforts in this awful situation."
Vaccination mandate for Victorian construction workers
More than 100 workers across Melbourne brought traffic to a halt on Friday, by taking furniture onto roads and sitting down to eat.
It came a day after new rules for construction sites were announced on Thursday. The rules meant that tea rooms on construction sites must close, and food and drink can no longer be consumed indoors. Travel between Melbourne and the regions for work was also banned.
A vaccination mandate was also introduced, with all construction workers required to have received their first Covid vaccination by September 23.
Victoria's Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said there was a "significant risk of transmission" in tea rooms.
"People are bending over backwards to keep the construction industry going and keep important sites going for important reasons," he said during Friday's press conference.
"We all need to be humble on this and recognise the privileges that those of us who are still able to work can get. If you can't sit next to your mates having a sandwich, that doesn't seem a huge burden to bear."
Victorian state construction union secretary John Setka said the decision to close tea rooms was "appalling" and was made without consulting the CFMEU.
"It's not really a protest. They've got nowhere else to have their smoko," he told 3AW radio on Friday.
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