Covid closure ‘nightmare’

Jason Dean, front, supported by Colin Crane, and Timothy Dragan, says he's having nightmares after the 'unfair' closure of his business. 252737_03 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A Hallam truck repair business owner says he’s “going through hell” after being grounded as a Tier 1 Covid exposure site with no explanation from health authorities.

DTR Truck Repairs was officially listed as Tier 1 on the late afternoon of Friday 1 October due to an infected worker on the site more than a week earlier.

Owner Jason Dean first heard of the listing after it was seen by a customer that night.

He’s received no calls from Department of Health contact tracers before or since.

Two days earlier, Mr Dean had responded proactively after being notified by an outdoors casual worker that they had tested Covid-positive.

He shut down, ordered a deep clean of the premises, as well as the Covid testing of all eight staff.

The staff all returned negative tests.

But still the business, its workers as well as 25 customer trucks have been grounded for the mandatory Tier 1 period of 14 days.

“I’m having nightmares. I’m getting depression and I’ve never had depression before,” Mr Dean said.

“I’m losing work. It’s giving me a bad name.

“I’m going through hell.”

He says his “upset” truck-driver customers understand that it’s not DTR’s fault.

But at the same time, Mr Dean can’t give them any answers as to when they get their vehicles back.

Mr Dean has fruitlessly tried ringing the Department of Health’s coronavirus hotline at least 20 times to explain his situation and re-open.

On one fruitless call, he waited on hold for three-and-a-half hours.

“It’s not fair for our small business – it’s unprofessional.

“They haven’t got in contact at all, no one’s advised me or followed up.

“And I’ve got seven or eight people wanting to know when they can get back to work.

“I don’t know what to do.”

Business owners have since rallied in support of DTR Truck Repairs.

AutoSmart Mobile Detailing owner Colin Crane, who performed the deep clean with Steri-7 hospital-grade disinfectant, said the Government had to better support businesses.

“Jason has satisfied all of the necessary steps to ensure that his business is safe to re-open but has not been able to find out how to get the required ‘clearance’ to be able to reopen,” Mr Crane said.

“And then you wonder why our cases spread and our businesses are getting no support at all.

“The Department of Health has taken the word of one person and closed the business down but has not once contacted the business owner.”

Local business advocate Timothy Dragan said Mr Dean was being “punished” by the “incompetence of the State Government” and a failing contact-tracing system.

“Businesses, like Jason’s, are already suffering; people are losing jobs; our economy is suffering.

“We can no longer put up with this. The government must get its job right and stop blaming everyone else.”

According to the Department of Health, an infected case attended the venue from 8am-4.45pm on 22 September and 23 September.

Any one at the site must get tested and isolate for 14 days from the time of exposure.

The Department of Health did not respond before deadline.