Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said anyone who deliberately coughed, sneezed or spat on public officials and workers would face the fine. Photo: Darren England
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said anyone who deliberately coughed, sneezed or spat on public officials and workers would face the fine. Photo: Darren England

Coronavirus fines for coughs, sneezes and spit

A COUGH could now cost you up to $13,345 under a new coronavirus public health order.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said anyone who deliberately coughed, sneezed or spat on public officials and workers would face a hefty fine.

The new ruling, which comes into effect today, allows for $1335 on the spot fines, court ordered penalties up to $13,345 and additional criminal charges.

"Our retail workers, police and paramedics deserve to be protected. I was disturbed to hear stories of people threatening to deliberately infect frontline staff," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"It's disgusting and I want police to throw the book at them."

The new ruling was relief to Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association state secretary Chris Gazenbeek, who said retail and fast food workers had borne the brunt of customer abuse during the pandemic.

"It's disturbing that we'd need a law that stops this kind of disgraceful behaviour, but unfortunately we do," Mr Gazenbeek said

"There has to be zero tolerance for this sort of behaviour being directed at the amazing workers who have been keeping our community going."

Health Minister Steven Miles said that while the risk of infection was low because there were so few cases, incidents could be very distressing for staff. Photo: Darren England
Health Minister Steven Miles said that while the risk of infection was low because there were so few cases, incidents could be very distressing for staff. Photo: Darren England

Health Minister Steven Miles said while the risk of infection was low because there were so few cases, incidents could be very distressing for staff.

"Imagine going to work one day and having someone cough over you and then having to wait to see if you got sick," Mr Miles said.

"That's the kind of distress this is causing people."