A woman has been dramatically arrested by five police officers at a popular cafe in Australia after not showing her vaccination certificate.
Footage shows the moment police arrived at the Dayman General Store in Queensland’s Hervey Bay – before a woman was seen rushing out past officers.
The video then shows the large squad of officers arresting the 46-year-old out the front of the store as she shrieked ‘you can’t arrest me’.
She was put into the back of the police car, taken to the watchhouse, charged, and fined $1,300.
‘The police do not know Rebecca’s medical background. Rebecca left the premise immediately and was polite and respectful throughout,’ the cafe said in a post.
‘She did not know why she was being arrested and like any normal person, did not want to be arrested. Because she didn’t want to be arrested, she was ‘obstructing justice’.’
The cafe’s owner Matt told Daily Mail Australia the business has been fully compliant with state and federal laws around check-ins and vaccinations.
He said that it was the first time the woman, named Rebecca, had visited their establishment.
‘It was her first time coming here, and first time she’s been out since December 17,’ he said.
‘She thought “bugger it, I’m going to have a coffee today”, and look what happened.’
Matt said the cafe thought it was their responsibility to provide options for unvaccinated locals as well as the vaccinated, so they decided to open up their garden with socially distanced tables and QR codes to ensure people could be tracked.
‘People can go to food courts and sit side by side, we thought if we opened our garden area, it’d be OK,’ the cafe owner said.
‘We did a video saying we welcome all of the community, a few days later, on Christmas Eve, three police arrived in their paddy wagon saying we were providing false information and that unvaccinated people can’t even sit in the garden.
Queensland Health said that because the garden is attached to the venue, all patrons must be vaccinated, as they must also be in food courts.
‘Restricted businesses have a higher risk of transmission, where there are people at higher risk if they contract COVID-19, or settings where contact tracing can be difficult,’ a spokeswoman said.
‘Businesses cannot apply for an exemption to the mandate. Individuals can apply for an exemption if they cannot be vaccinated for genuine medical reasons – this applies to very few people.’
Dayman General store owners and managers had been warned by the officers that they would come back and continue checking patrons’ vaccination certificates, and if anyone was unvaccinated they would ‘face fines’.
That led to the incident on Wednesday where police arrived to check passports after receiving a complaint someone in attendance was unvaccinated.
Footage shows police walking through the venue inspecting customers’ proof of vaccines, before continuing to walk through the cafe as a woman stands and walks out.
Rebecca can be seen glancing back at the police as she leaves before police follow her out.
The video then stops, before a second clip shows her being arrested.
Matt claims he was cleaning tables outside before hearing her screams and came running around the front with his camera.
‘Rebecca was inside having a coffee, when she saw the police she stood up, said I’d give you my name and address but I decline to show my medical records,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I came running out the front and all five police were on her. She’s got bruises all over her arm.’
He said his staff were all very emotional over the incident and said they ‘couldn’t believe this was happening in Australia.’
Charge sheets seen by Daily Mail Australia show the woman was charged with one count of Contravene Direction or Requirement, and one count of Obstruct Police Officer.
She will face Hervey Bay Magistrates Court in March.
In a statement, Queensland Police said the arrested person refused to comply after ‘several warnings’ and said the majority of the community had been ‘very compliant’ with vaccine mandates.
‘Acting on information from members of the public, officers attended an Urangun café on January 12 to ensure the business and its patrons were complying with the current Chief Health Officer’s public health directions,’ a spokesperson said.
‘A woman, who was a patron of the café, repeatedly refused to provide her details when approached by officers.
‘After several warnings, the 46-year-old Toogoom woman was arrested and charged with contravene a direction (fail to state name and address) and obstruct police. She is due to appear in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on March 10.
‘The vast majority of the Wide Bay community has been very compliant with public health directions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and we urge members of the public to continue to work with us in the interests of keeping our community safe.’