Coronavirus: Bunnings boss reacts to 'Karen' face mask video

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·3-min read

The boss of Bunnings has responded to a video circulating of a woman confronting staff after she was asked to wear a face mask in the hardware store.

Footage circulated on Sunday of “Karen from Bunnings” debating with Bunnings staff about why she shouldn’t be forced to wear a face mask.

Bunnings last week introduced a rule that shoppers in Mitchell Shire and Melbourne stores would have to wear masks or be refused store entry.

Two workers at a Bunnings store are pictured in face masks.
A woman confronted Bunnings workers (pictured) about wearing a face mask. Source: Twitter

It coincides with Victoria introducing $200 fines for people stepping out of the house without a mask or any other sort of face covering in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire areas last week.

Dubbed as “Karen from Bunnings”, the woman filmed herself aggressively confronting Bunnings staff members after being asked to wear a mask.

“It is unlawful, and it is discriminatory, and it is illegal. And I’m going to continue going in here and getting what I need because it is unlawful for you to do that,” the woman told one of the workers.

Rob Scott, managing director and CEO of Wesfarmers – which owns Bunnings, responded in a tweet to the video.

“Very proud of the Bunnings team for doing their best to keep people safe,” Mr Scott tweeted.

“Also great to see 99%+ of the public doing the right thing. Thank you.”

‘No room for that behaviour’

Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth told the ABC on Monday he believes most Australians “will have been disturbed” by the video.

Dr Coatsworth added those who are arguing against the rules are “a small minority”.

“I would like to commend the staff member and the staff in Bunnings and I'm sorry they had to deal with that,” he told the ABC.

“There is no room for that behaviour in Australian society.”

He said mandatory mask wearing “is not an enormous ask”.

Dr Coatsworth told Nine’s The Today Show “it is not a human rights issue to decide not to wear a mask”.

“I just can't see how it takes away someone's human rights or individual liberty to just have to put a face covering on at the request of government,” he told the program.

“It is simple. We know it's effective. We know it's the time to do it.”

Victoria recorded 459 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday and a further 10 deaths – seven men and three women.

Premier Daniel Andrews implored people to wear masks.

“It is a $200 fine. It should never come to that. (But) if it was a genuine error, a sense of any confusion, then police use good judgement,” Mr Andrews said.

“They are about trying to be as fair as they possibly can be, but if you are just making a selfish choice [about] your alleged personal liberty, quoting some, I don't know, something you've read on some website – this is not about human rights.”

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