On March 13, Birpai woman, Nicole Anderson discovered a Facebook post about her and her children that shocked her and left her reeling - the post said that she had COVID-19, and was spreading around her home town of New Norfolk, Tasmania.
She soon realised it had allegedly been made by a Woolworths employee. She thought back to a few days prior when she had made a joke to another Woolworths employee at the check out when they had been discussing the recent COVID-19 cases at the University of Tasmania.
"This woman is still happy to go shopping at the supermarket that have [sic] pregnant ladies and probably right round [sic] the whole town spreading the virus !!" the post read, alongside screenshots of her Facebook profile, and photos of her children.
"She obviously prefers to go out and about rather than putting herself in quarantine for a few days hope she's proud if an outbreak occurs in our beautiful town."
Ms Anderson told NITV News that she does not, and has not had the virus. While upset, she said she was going to let the incident go, however a few days later when shopping for her large household, she was allegedly coughed all over by another employee.
"Obviously it's been shared around and it's a very small country town where we live. I've had instances where I've gone to the supermarket, they've run away, they've pulled their shirt over their face," Ms Anderson said.
"My children are too scared to even go out of the house anymore because of the victimising I've received."
After making a complaint to the store manager, she wasn't satisfied with the response and called the complaints line, who put her in touch with another department of the company.
"Their solution was that they could deliver my groceries to home, or to shop at 7 or 8 in the morning with the elderly and vulnerable who are at risk so that I don't have to face these people anymore,"
"I'm feeling very victimised by this. I feel like I'm being segregated and that with everything going on in the community with the Coronavirus, I just don't feel like it's a good enough outcome."
The national management of Woolworths told NITV News that they felt shocked and appalled and that a full investigation of the incident and would take place followed by an appropriate action in line with their workplace policies.
"We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores and sincerely regret this wasn't the case on this occasion. This type of behaviour is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in our stores," the statement read.
We are making arrangements to meet with the customer face-to-face to apologise for the experience and hope to welcome them back into our store again soon."
Ms Anderson said she was also offered a small token from Woolworths, however she just hopes to now shop in peace.