Melbornians have headed to the beach in droves to take advantage of Saturday’s sunshine, despite being in stage four lockdown.
Victorians have been accused of ignoring Daniel Andrews advice to “do the right thing” at yesterday’s media conference by packing St Kilda Beach to take in the warmer weather.
“Today is a beautiful sunny day and I just say to people, we want to get to the other side of this and allow people to enjoy all the things that Melbourne and Victoria is famous for,” Mr Andrews said warned.
But despite his pleas, hundreds of people were seen sitting on the sand, strolling along the foreshore and basking in the later winter sun.
“There were a lot idiots without wearing a mask around the populated St Kilda Beach yesterday. Some gathered in groups, drinking and some with the masks left around their necks,” a Twitter user wrote Saturday, along with a picture of crowds headed to the beach.
There were also claims Victorian police were nowhere to be seen for the majority of the day, although some were seen later in the afternoon clearing the beaches.
“Is this real life?” Nine News Melbourne Chief of Staff wrote as he shared video of the packed beach.
It comes as Victoria records 114 new cases of coronavirus in the 24-hour period to Sunday, and another 11 deaths.
Melbourne locals have been in stage four lockdown since July 8 and only permitted to leave their homes for essential reasons such as exercise, food, medical treatment and work.
There were a lot idiots without wearing a mask arround the populated #StKilda Beach yesterday.— Med (@Medicayy) August 29, 2020
Some gathered in groups, drinking and some with the masks left around their necks .
There were no signs of any #VicPolice around there.#auspol #vicpol #covid_19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/WE2YgyqKpt
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was asked about the scenes on St Kilda beach on Sunday morning and said he “understood” the public’s desire to enjoy the nice weather yesterday.
“The weather was better than it has been in a while,” he said, but he urged people too stick to the rules or risk them being in place for longer.
“Let's not make any choices that put at risk all of the progress we have made and could render all of the sacrifice we have made meaningless,” he told reporters.
“We do not want that. No day at the beach is worth that. I want to get past this so people can spend as much time at the beach as they want and can do it safely. This is not the time for that. These lockdowns are not imposed for fun.”
Earlier this weekend Mr Andrews said health authorities want to ensure virus spread in the community is under control before restrictions are relaxed.
"We want to defeat the second wave and properly ... That means we can avoid a third wave."
Restrictions across Melbourne are due to expire on September 13 but will be reduced gradually with Mr Andrews saying the path back to normality will be based on "science and data and evidence".
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