Hundreds flood Melbourne beaches ignoring social distancing measures to party after weeks in lockdown prompting a stern warning from Dan Andrews’ right-hand man
- Hundreds flock to Melbourne’s beaches as warm temperatures hit Victoria
- No masks, no social distancing, shouting, cavorting – they swarmed a reporter
- Lockdown fever brought hundreds into the sunshine with restrictions eased
- Authorities fear the move could derail Victoria’s hard-won coronavirus progress
- 28C temperatures forecast for the weekend could bring thousands to the beach
- People urged to stick to Step Two rules – wear face masks so virus doesn’t return
Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton took to Twitter to issue a heartfelt plea on Friday after disturbing footage emerged of hordes of young people partying on Melbourne’s beaches, ignoring social distancing and gathering in large groups.
‘Don’t risk everything,’ he wrote on Twitter.
The moment a young man grabbed a 7news reporter and kissed his head as lockdown relief craziness broke out at St Kilda Beach. A woman kissed the camera lens, leaving a lip-shaped blur. Authorities fear the lack of face masks and social distancing, could bring the virus back
‘What we can hold back now means a truly normal summer. Please – Hold. The. Line.’
After two months of tough lockdown, many Melbourne residents were overwhelmed with desire to get out and party in the sun as temperatures climbed above 25 degrees on Friday.
They packed Williamstown, St Kilda and Port Melbourne beaches for their two hours of exercise time.
Professor Sutton retweeted footage from 7news Melbourne along with his warning.
Reporter Paul Dowsley broadcast disturbing footage from St Kilda Beach of hundreds of young people cavorting without masks, shouting for joy and not respecting social distancing rules.
Then, the craziness broke out as unmasked revellers swarmed him as he did his live cross.
Pictured: social distancing circles have been painted on the grass and people in this photo appear to be keeping to their circles. Groups of five are permitted, from only two households
St Kilda beach on Friday. The warm weather brought people out in their droves
One woman squealing in delight, ran up and kissed the camera, planting lip gloss on the lens.
A young man without a mask ran up and grabbed the reporters shoulder, kissed the side of his neck twice, then patted the top of his head and kissed the back of it, too.
Authorities fear the coronavirus will once again break out unless people stick to the social distancing rules under Step Two of the roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown.
Victoria has so far been on track and ahead of schedule in beating the coronavirus as the strict lockdowns worked to control the spread.
People thronged to St Kilda beach at sunset on Friday
Melbourne residents couldn’t contain their joy on Friday at the slight easing of restrictions and the warm weather. They have been on tough Stage Four lockdown since August 2
The state recorded just seven new infections on Friday as the state’s mystery case numbers continue to fall rapidly.
There were just 14 cases from a mystery source on Friday, and the 14-day rolling average of new cases fell to 12.8 for metropolitan Melbourne.
For restrictions to ease to Step Three, Melbourne’s 14-day average must fall below five, with less than five mystery cases for a fortnight.
Under current Step Two rules, people are only able to gather in maximum groups of five, from two households.
People were not distancing or sticking to groups of five, and police were not seen giving many $5000 fines – prompting the authorities to fear the virus may return if people don’t comply
Hordes of people pictured on Friday on Melbourne’s beaches, many without masks
They need to be keeping to the 1.5m social distancing rule, and wearing the compulsory facemasks.
Premier Daniel Andrews increased fines for those who flout the restrictions on gatherings from $1652 to $4957 as the Stage Two easings came into effect on Monday.
However this did nothing to deter the hordes of young people seen frolicking on the beaches on Friday evening.
At St Kilda there were no signs of police on Friday as hundreds of people broke the rules.
Authorities fear worse will come this weekend with Melbournians unable to resist the warm weather ahead this weekend.
The sunshine and easing of restrictions brought Melbournians out from their homes
People came out in their hundreds to watch the sunset
The weather forecast for Melbourne is a balmy 28 degrees on Saturday and 27 degrees on Sunday.
A police spokeswoman told The Age newspaper that ‘a number of’ fines had been issued to people who breached directions at St Kilda Beach.
She said police would increase patrols over the weekend.
‘As the weather starts to warm up, we know this is a time when many people would normally like to be out and about but it is important that if you choose to leave your home you continue to adhere to the directions of the Chief Health Officer,’ the police spokeswoman said.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: Came into effect on September 14
Step two: Came into effect on September 28
Step three: When there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The original aim was for October 26 but that has been brought forward to October 19 after the 14-day average of new cases fell below initial expectations
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
FREEDOMS YOU GET AT EACH STEP OF EASING
Step one – came into effect September 14
– Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – came into effect September 28
– Melbourne’s curfew lifted
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – originally expected October 26, brought forward to October 19
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – expected in November, dependent on new case numbers:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records