Police step up patrolling as Melbourne residents throng beaches ignoring curbs
MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) – In the Australian coronavirus hot spot state of Victoria, police stepped up patrolling on Saturday as hundreds of Melbourne residents breached lockdown curbs and thronged beaches on the warmest weekend in months.
As per the restrictions, residents of Melbourne, which is the capital of Victoria, can exercise or socialise outdoors for two hours a day and they must be close to home. People should wear face masks when they are outside.
Footage on TV and social media showed crowds without masks at beaches as the mercury column went high ahead of summer.
“A number of fines were issued to people who breached directions …. and Victoria Police will be conducting increased patrols of popular public spaces this weekend,” police said.
Those found not wearing a face mask will be fined A$200 ($143) and violation of public health orders invite a penalty of more than A$1,600.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the behaviour of crowds at the beach was “unacceptable”.
“Spending time at the beach without a mask, without social distancing now, will just mean that you won’t get to go to the beach for all of summer,” Andrews said.
In the past 24 hours, as many as eight people were diagnosed with the coronavirus and there were three fatalities. After reaching more than 700 daily cases in July, the numbers are steadily dropping.