The tiny city of Merrigum in regional Victoria might lose its solely put up workplace as a result of its operator has refused to be vaccinated for Covid-19, citing her “freedom of selection”.
Angela Spedding has operated the Merrigum put up workplace and newsagent for greater than six years.
On Tuesday, in a put up on social media, Spedding mentioned she had been instructed by Australia Publish that the put up workplace must shut if she had not booked in to obtain a vaccine by the top of the working week, and he or she would additionally should stop delivering mail.
Australia Publish denied Spedding had been instructed to shut the workplace, however mentioned she had suggested them it will shut from Thursday after discussions about her compliance with state well being orders.
Beneath Victorian state authorities well being orders about 1.25 million authorised staff – together with newsagents and put up workplace staff – are required to be vaccinated by Friday, in a bid to scale back Covid-19 case numbers earlier than restrictions are eased.
Spedding instructed her clients all postal companies would stop due to her selection to not get vaccinated.
“As to your road mail, they’ll have one other contractor however the place it is going to go I don’t know,” she mentioned on Fb. “I apologise for the inconvenience this may trigger for you all however it’s my freedom of selection.”
Merrigum, a sleepy city of fewer than 700 folks within the Goulburn Valley, has a predominantly aged inhabitants, lots of whom, Spedding mentioned, had already been vaccinated.
However she had been “adamant” in opposition to receiving the vaccine, citing concern over its side-effects and distrust of the federal government.
“I don’t watch TV a lot however I learn on Fb, I don’t assume it [the vaccine] ought to ever be mandated,” she mentioned.
“However Australia Publish instructed me I both needed to get a vaccine or make an appointment. They’ll be right here to scrub out all of the mail, parcels, every little thing.”
An Australia Publish spokesperson mentioned it had been complying with authorities necessities and well being instructions all through the pandemic, and was sorry the licensee had chosen to shut.
They mentioned the outlet would proceed to function as regular if the licensee complied with the well being orders. If it closed, all mail can be redirected to Girgarre, greater than 20km from Merrigum.
With the specter of closure changing into more and more actual, Spedding mentioned she was starting to rethink her determination.
“If I don’t get vaccinated, they’ll take my enterprise,” she mentioned.
“I don’t need to get it, however it’s throwing what I’ve labored for, for the final seven years, away … I don’t actually have any selection.
“Once I took this place over it was run down, they’d hardly any clientele, and I constructed it as much as be a very good neighborhood put up workplace. The neighborhood assist me.”
Spedding mentioned the Covid-19 growth on postal deliveries prior to now 12 months had constructed her enterprise as much as be value some $250,000. She hoped to finally promote the newsagent to gas her retirement.
“In the event that they take it away, with out Australia Publish the newsagent is value nothing,” she mentioned.
“I get $95,000 value of earnings from Australia Publish a 12 months. I’ve been in tears since I closed at 1pm in the present day. What am I imagined to do?”
Since Merrigum’s LGA of Better Shepparton was thrown into lockdown to comprise a Delta outbreak, its vaccination price has improved from one of many lowest within the state to above 90% for first doses.