Andrews slams selfish Melbourne beachgoers

An angry Daniel Andrews has slammed “selfish” Melbourne beachgoers filmed ignoring social distancing and not wearing masks for jeopardising the state’s progress as it eyes the end of lockdown.

The premier has told reporters he was disappointed – and his family furious – to see television footage of crowds at gathering at St Kilda beach in Melbourne on Friday.

The vision showed people breaching social distancing requirements and mask-less beachgoers kissing the camera and then a reporter on the head several times.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


Mr Andrews said not only was the behaviour selfish and dumb, it was illegal.

“No one has the right to break the rules and potentially put at risk everything that good, decent law-abiding Victorians have created, have built. All of their sacrifice has to be worth something,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“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. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

He said Victoria Police would be out in force at beaches across the city on Saturday to enforce the rules.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the stupid behaviour, which came as the state recorded another day of cases in single digits, made him angry too.

“It’s a bit of an insult to everyone who’s done it tough for months and months and months across the state for some people to be putting all our gains at risk,” he told reporters.

Both men said the behaviour could lead to more community transmission and jeopardise the state’s path out of lockdown.

The average new daily case count needs to drop below five and there must be fewer than five mystery cases per fortnight before authorities further ease Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions.

The premier expects this to happen by October 19.

Victoria has reported three more COVID-19 deaths and eight more cases on Saturday, taking the state toll to 805 and national death count to 893.

It means Melbourne’s latest 14-day rolling average stands at 12 cases and there have been 11 cases with an unknown source in the fortnight to Wednesday.

Despite Saturday’s single-figure results, a recent outbreak of COVID-19 linked to Australia’s biggest shopping centre shows why it’s unsafe to ease restrictions now, Mr Andrews has said.

A cluster of cases at The Butcher Club inside southeast Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre has grown to 17 and includes a family.

The premier challenged Victorians to consider the potential impact of a cluster in such a large, busy setting.

© AAP 2020