Dan Andrews’ view of ‘freedom’: Furious Melburnians turn on premier for ‘absurd’ ban on drinking at picnics and playing tennis or golf – as Victoria records 510 new Covid cases
- Melburnians have hit out at a rule banning them from drinking outdoors
- Ban remains on removing masks to drink alcohol outside in Melbourne
- Rule effectively makes it illegal to have a tipple without using a straw
Furious Melburnians have hit out at an ‘absurd’ rule banning them from drinking at picnics as well as restrictions that prevent them playing tennis or golf – as Victoria the state recorded Victoria recorded 510 new Covid cases and one new death from the virus.
Only 124 of the cases have so far been linked to known outbreaks.
To mark Victoria reaching its 70 per cent first dose vaccination target on Thursday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced a series of ‘modest’ restriction changes for Melbourne from Saturday including small outdoor gatherings.
As many as five fully-vaccinated residents from two households, plus dependents, can gather outside in Melbourne and Ballarat from 11.59pm on Friday.
But an exemption to the ban on removing masks to drink alcohol outside of the home has not been granted, effectively making it illegal to have a tipple during picnics without using a straw.
Melburnians are still banned from drinking alcohol at picnics despite an easing of public gathering restrictions in the city
The rule on outside drinking in Melbourne has been criticised by residents desperate to enjoy a drink with their friends.
‘This has to be the strangest Covid rule any government has made in the world,’ one person wrote on Twitter.
Golf and tennis are still off limits to Melburnians, with Mr Andrews on Thursday saying those activities were too risky given the rate of transmission in the city.
‘If you walk in the CBD, so many construction workers don’t even wear a mask and stand so close and talk to each other,’ one social media user wrote.
‘Meanwhile golf and tennis are not allowed.’
Skate parks will be allowed to reopen from Friday, a decision labelled ‘illogical’ by some Melburnians who argued golf courses posed a lower risk of transmission.
‘Golf courses and tennis courts have QR codes to enter and exit. You can control who comes and goes and actually trace. Skate parks gyms people just come and go. It’s illogical and deserves immense criticism for inconsistency,’ another said.
The premier on Thursday said police will not be going from park to park to check the vaccination status of those gathering for picnics, but he hoped Victorians would ‘do the right thing’.
‘There’s a degree of good faith in this,’ Mr Andrews told reporters.
Other rule changes from 11.59pm on Friday include a doubling of the amount of time allowed outdoors to four hours, the expansion of the travel limit from five kilometres to 10, and the reopening of outdoor gym equipment and skate parks.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced a series of ‘modest’ restriction changes for Melbourne from Saturday including small outdoor gatherings
The government’s full roadmap out of lockdown, outlining restrictions through to November, will be released on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the government has mandated Covid-19 vaccinations for construction workers, and banned them from travelling between Melbourne and the regions for work.
As many as five fully-vaccinated residents from two households, plus dependents, can gather outside in Melbourne and Ballarat from 11.59pm on Friday. Pictured are Melbourne residents exercising at Albert Park Lake on September 13
The move follows outbreaks at multiple sites as well as a construction worker triggering a cluster in Ballarat, plunging the regional city into a week-long lockdown and bringing it into line with Melbourne’s restrictions.
Of Thursday’s 514 new cases – the highest daily total since August 2020 – 10 were detected in regional Victoria, including three in Ballarat.
Two were contacts of the infected construction worker, while the third is a mystery case that has been infectious in the community since last Tuesday.
Some 10,000 additional Pfizer doses will be sent to Ballarat in the next two to three weeks to combat the unfolding outbreak.
MELBOURNE’S NEW RULES FROM FRIDAY
- Outdoor gatherings of up to five people from a maximum of two households who are all fully vaccinated
- Travel radius doubles from 5km to 10km
- Exercise time outside doubles from two hours to four hours
- Two people can train outdoors with a personal trainer
- All construction workers must have their first dose to work on site from next Friday
- Child-minding centres will re-open as long as one parent is authorised worker
- Real estate inspections open with people viewing from one household and agent must wait outside