Dymocks worker knocked out after asking for customer's vaccine proof

·3-min read

A man refusing to show vaccine proof has been filmed knocking out a Covid marshall at a bookstore in Melbourne.

Video obtained by A Current Affair shows the man inside a Dymocks store in Melbourne’s CBD. The store has an escalator at the entrance.

The staff member is checking customers’ vaccine certificates but is shoved into the escalator by the man, hitting his head in the process after a minor scuffle.

The assaulted man is knocked out and lies on the escalator, travelling downward while his assailant walks off.

Witnesses claim the man refused to use the store’s QR code check-in. It is not exactly clear what the pair said to each other.

A staff member and a shopper wrestle at an escalator at the entrance of Dymocks in Melbourne. The staff member tumbles and falls on the escalator.
A man has a scuffle with a staff member who hits his head and is knocked out. Source: A Current Affair

Dymocks Melbourne owner Dino Traverso told A Current Affair the staff member received a mild concussion.

“He was being the Covid Marshall, which we asked them to do, and he was asking the customer to check in and show their vaccine status,” Mr Traverso told the ABC.

“He's actually recovered quite well. He was back at work on Tuesday. He's very shaken. He was very, very lucky not to get very seriously hurt. He had some quite nasty scrapes on his back.”

Mr Traverso believes the staff member could have died if his head had hit the sharp part of the escalator.

He told The Age two other staff members were assaulted that same day. One was slapped by a woman who refused to give personal details, while another was lunged at by an irate shopper who did not want to share his vaccine status.

The owners of the bookshop said they have been forced to hire security to deal with unruly shoppers.

Retail staff copping abuse ‘off the charts’

Research conducted by Australian National University and Sydney University found 56 per cent of retail workers reported an increase of abuse from shoppers throughout the pandemic.

Frontline workers, women, people aged under 50 and workers from non-English backgrounds reported the most abuse.

It also made no difference whether the staff members were working in a locked down region or not, “suggesting this is a larger issue than the pandemic”, the report, published last month, reads.

National Retailers Association CEO Dominique Lamb said customer aggression towards retail staff has “gone off the charts” throughout the pandemic.

“Retailers have shown throughout the pandemic that they are prepared to assist on the front line of safety, asking patrons to wear masks, check in, clean their hands and keep their distance,” she said last month.

“There needs to be a strong police presence in high-density shopping precincts, as well as the necessary resources made available to authorities to respond quickly to incidents in non-essential retail businesses.”

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