Shop until you drop! Hundreds of people pack together in Melbourne markets and stores in defiance of the city’s lockdown orders – leaving shopkeepers frustrated and afraid
- Melburnians ignored social distancing and lockdown measures to go shopping
- Hundreds of eager shoppers flocked to markets and stores over the weekend
- Shopkeepers are frustrated with shoppers who ignore or don’t understand rules
- Chief Medical Officer Professor Brett Sutton reiterated people must stay home
Melburnians have flocked to shopping centres and markets across the city despite stage four lockdown restrictions.
Hundreds of shoppers ignored social distancing measures to cram into stores to buy groceries, with retailers unable to control customers.
Shopkeepers said they were becoming frustrated with shoppers who ignored health guidelines or don’t understand the safety measures in place.
Eager shoppers ignore social distancing to cram into a grocery store in Lalor in Melbourne’s north on Saturday
‘It’s dangerous,’ fruit market owner Ahmed Alex from Lalor in the city’s north told 9News. ‘It’s not easy.’
Poor weather did little to dampen the spirits of eager shoppers, with residents in coronavirus hotspot areas including Whittlesea crowding into stores.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Brett Sutton reiterated people must stay home amid stage four coronavirus lockdown measures in Melbourne.
‘Food and drink is take away in Victoria, so people need to take it and they need to go home,’ he said.
Markets were able to open in Melbourne on Saturday after the state government backflipped on a decision to ban them on Friday.
John Davidson from The Cripps Family Fish Farm said a ban would have left many traders out of pocket.
‘We’d be looking at $20,000 to $25,000 worth of loss if these markets failed to go ahead,’ he said.
Store owner Ahmed Alex said retailers were struggling with customers who ignored social distancing protocols
VICTORIA’S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR AUGUST 23
* 208 new cases
* 17 more deaths, taking the state toll to 415 and the national figure to 502
* Latest deaths include a woman and a man aged in their 60s, three men in their 70s, six men and four women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s
* 11 of the deaths are linked to aged care
* 4012 active cases in Victoria
* 3920 ‘mystery’ cases, including 82 new cases
* 585 people are in hospital with 32 in intensive care, of whom 21 are on ventilators
* 536 active cases among healthcare workers
* 2,091,328 test results received – an increase of 20,747 since Saturday
RESTRICTIONS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 13
* Stage four in metropolitan Melbourne, including an 8pm-5am curfew, 5km travel limit from home, one-hour outdoor exercise, widespread workforce shutdowns including child care
* Stage three protocols for regional Victoria
* Police issued 199 fines in the past 24 hours, including 73 for curfew breaches and 20 for failing to wear a face mask
Melbourne residents still have about another three weeks of stage four restrictions ahead of them before they are revised on September 13.
Melburnians can only leave their homes to exercise for one hour only, to shop for necessities like food, to give or receive medical care, or for study or work.
Those who break the rules face an on-the-spot fine of $1,652.
Regional Victorians are under slightly less onerous level three restrictions for the same period.
Professor Sutton said restrictions would not be lifted in full until community transmission was eradicated.
Melburnians have ignored social distancing and lockdown measures to go shopping
He said people must expect to continue to wear protective face masks in public after restrictions are eased.
Victoria recorded 208 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday and 17 deaths.
Meanwhile, hearings for state’s inquiry into the failed hotel quarantine program resume on Monday with more testimony from hotel security staff.
The inquiry last week heard poor-performing security guards were moved between the quarantine hotels, while returned travellers feared catching the coronavirus during their stay.
199 VICTORIANS FINED FOR VIRUS BREACHES
Victoria Police have fined 199 people for breaching coronavirus restrictions, including a man who told officers he ‘got bored at home’.
The man from Altona Meadows was pulled over 19km away in Brimbank – in breach of the 5km travel radius rule – and told police he was aware of the restrictions but wanted to visit a friend.
Of the people fined in the 24 hours to Sunday, 73 were in breach of the 8pm to 5am curfew in metropolitan Melbourne, 20 were pinged for failing to wear a mask when leaving home and 14 were picked up at vehicle checkpoints.
Five men found inside a vehicle in Airport West told police they were ‘just out chilling’.
Police were called to an address on the Mornington Peninsula to reports of loud music and found two women and three men drinking together.
When asked why they were breaching restrictions on gatherings they said, ‘We are idiots’, according to police.
A man was also seen leaving a petrol station in Glen Eira after curfew.
He told police he had been buying chocolate for a friend with diabetes who had low blood sugar.
‘When asked to produce chocolate he admitted to lying and produced cigarettes he had just purchased,’ police said in a statement on Sunday.
Police conducted 3869 spot checks on people at homes, businesses and public places across the state.
Some 316,136 spot checks have been conducted since March 21.