Bunnings managing director Mike Schneider has responded to a viral video of a belligerent customer refusing to wear a face mask in one of the retailer’s Victorian stores over the weekend.
In a public Facebook post, Schneider characterised the incident as “disappointing” and said the popular hardware chain would not tolerate abuse against its team members.
“Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put the welfare and care of our team and customers at the core of what we do,” Schneider said.
“As the community has seen from a couple of disappointing incidents over the weekend, our team are doing everything they can to help keep everyone safe in sometimes challenging circumstances.”
The statement is a rare move from the retail chain, which does not typically post verbatim statements from executives to its social media accounts.
But these are anything but normal times, and as more videos begin to crop up of so-called ‘mask rage’ in the wake of orders requiring customers to wear face coverings outside their homes in Victoria, Bunnings is looking to convey a strong message about its policies.
“To be absolutely clear, we require that all customers wear a face mask or face covering if they visit a Bunnings store or Trade Centre in metropolitan Melbourne, or the Mitchell Shire. Exceptions will only be made for children aged under 12 and customers with valid medical reasons,” Schneider said.
“We won’t tolerate abuse against our team members and any customers who do not respect the hard work of our team will be denied entry — and if needed will be referred to Victoria Police,” Schneider said.
Social media platforms continue to buzz as new videos emerge of customers refusing to wear masks into retail stores and shopping centres, despite a broad spectrum of lawyers arguing there’s no legal basis for non-compliance.
Retail businesses are being advised to display conditions of entry to their stores prominently, and call in police to enforce public health orders where needed.