Thai Rock owners reveal abusive messages from public over COVID-19 outbreak

The owners of a Thai restaurant chain linked to more than 100 coronavirus cases in NSW say they have been bombarded with vicious messages on social media.

Breaking their silence to Nine’s A Current Affair, Thai Rock owners Stephanie and David Boyd said they were not to blame for the situation.

“It’s destroyed our business,” Mr Boyd told the program.

“I don’t know how we can recover for this,” Ms Boyd added.

Their Wetherill Park location has been linked to 94 cases, and their Potts Point location a further seven, but they insist they don’t know what went wrong.

“There’s a lot of mistruth out there, a lot of accusation,” Ms Boyd said.

Mr Boyd said he understood “people are scared” and wanted to blame someone, but “listen to facts”.

“We don’t know (how COVID-19 came to the restaurant),” he said.

“NSW Health don’t know. We’re still trying to investigate that.

Last week, NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant warned “we may never” know the source of the initial Thai Rock exposure.

Mr Boyd said prior to the outbreak his restaurant had been doing all the right things – 1.5 metre social distancing, hand sanitiser, keeping customer records and taking staff temperatures at the start of each shift.

“Absolutely everything,” he said.

Ms Boyd said was “very distressing” that so many cases had now been linked back to their restaurant, which they started eight years ago.

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The couple, who are self-isolating at home, also denied rumours they had defied NSW Health instructions.

“Where’s the proof?” Mr Boyd said.

“We know we have not stepped foot outside. (We’ve had) no indication whatsoever from NSW Health or the police (that we’ve done anything wrong).”

He added, “Can I be honest? We’re scared to go out. Seriously, we are. There’s a certain fear.”

The couple say they have been left devastated by hateful and cruel messages from the public.

“(They say) ‘damn you to hell’, ‘you spread this virus to everybody’ and I should die because I have it,” Ms Boyd said.

“It’s very, very hurtful.”

NSW Health’s current public health alert for Thai Rock Potts Point is for Wednesday July 15 to Saturday July 25 inclusive.

“If you attended this restaurant for two hours or more, get tested for COVID-19 immediately,” it says.

“Self-isolate for 14 days since you were last at this restaurant, regardless of symptoms. If you attended this restaurant for less than two hours, monitor for symptoms. If symptoms appear, isolate immediately and get tested.”

It comes as one of three young women at the centre of a Queensland COVID-19 breach reveals the torrent of racial and sexist abuse she’s received on social media.

Diana Lasu shared the string of messages on Instagram, which the Courier-Mail described as using “foul, abusive, racist and misogynistic language”.

frank.chung@news.com.au



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