Authorities in South Australia have backtracked on earlier comments about the Woodville Pizza Bar employee who lied to contact tracers and sparked a harsh lockdown in the state, with the premier saying that the man will face “consequences” for his actions.
Earlier this week, it emerged that a hotel employee who tested positive to COVID-19 lied about his employment situation, telling contact tracers that he merely picked up takeaway from the Woodville Pizza Bar when in fact, he had worked several shifts there.
The man’s lie resulted in drastic action in South Australia, leading authorities to believe they were dealing with a more contagious version of the virus than was actually the case, thanks to fears he may have picked it up from a pizza box.
Yesterday, police commissioner Grant Stevens said that the man in question will not be fined as there is “no mechanism” to do so under current law. Late Friday, however, he walked these comments back, saying that the man may still face a penalty.
Per ABC News reports, Stevens has announced a task force that will examine various pieces of legislation that may have been breached. He promised a “thorough and fair” investigation into the matter, and said that “there will be no stone left unturned.”
Premier Steven Marshall also fired up at the man, whose actions led to the shutdown of takeaway food outlets and other businesses across the state, leading to potential economic impacts of “tens if not hundreds of millions” across South Australia.
Speaking to ABC Radio Adelaide, Marshall said that the government will consider “all and every avenue to throw the book at this person”, adding “there have got to be consequences.”
While authorities are clearly not very happy with the individual, there is also concern that there may be recriminations against his employer, with a police car remaining parked outside the Woodville Pizza Bar to guard it.
The risk in the state is still not over, with thousands of people potentially linked to the pizza bar and other locations still to be traced. Most of SA’s harsh lockdown measures will, however, be wound back from midnight tonight.