A trio of removalists who travelled from Sydney to the regions despite allegedly receiving news of a positive COVID test have broken their silence.
The workers at On Time Removals, two aged 27 and one aged 21, were on Saturday charged by NSW Police for their movements.
They had driven from West Hoxton from Figtree, then onto Molong while making several stops, and mid-trip were informed one had tested positive to COVID-19.
Their boss Aram Yousif told 7NEWS the men had no symptoms and were not COVID-positive when they set out on their trip.
“They had to pick up a job from Figtree on Thursday morning,” he said.
“When they picked that job up, I rang them that afternoon and I said to them ‘guys have you done your test yet?’ and they said to me ‘Aram we are very healthy, we have no symptoms, why should we do the test’?”
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Roni Shawka, 27, was called by NSW Health midway through a trip to inform him he had tested positive to COVID-19.
But, Aram says, English is not his first language and the instructions were unclear.
“Of course I feel very bad, I feel very bad for what I [have] done, but it’s not my fault …” Roni added.
“I was driving and he call[ed] me from the health [department], he told me to stop working and go home, I was already in Orange.”
The three continued to drive until police caught up with them in Molong.
It was established they’d travelled from West Hoxton to Figtree, before travelling to Molong, stopping in South Bowenfels and Orange.
Under the public health orders, essential workers travelling outside of Greater Sydney must seek testing weekly.
However, they do not have to isolate unless symptomatic.
But the other workers would have likely been deemed as close contacts of Roni and ordered to isolate
The men will argue their case when they appear in court at the end of August.
Police Minister David Elliott said he was “troubled” by the allegations.
“This thoughtless act has now placed our regional communities in NSW at the greatest risk so far with this pandemic,” he said.
“We know that the Delta variant is highly transmissible, and it is unfathomable to think that, with all the public information and health warnings, people could so blatantly ignore the health orders.”