‘Hundreds’ gather without face masks

Police have handed out more than $21,000 in fines after officers broke up a house party where 13 people were found in breach of Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions.

All of the partygoers at the CBD apartment were each fined $1652.

Three women from Ivanhoe, Doncaster and Thomastown were also fined after they were found having a picnic at Domain park – well outside their 5km bubble.

In total, Victoria Police handed out 123 fines in the past 24 hours, including 14 for failing to wear a face mask and 52 at vehicle checkpoints.

It comes after Daniel Andrews was faced with fresh claims about a large public gathering at a popular Melbourne picnic spot where people were reportedly without face masks.

A reporter raised the concern where allegedly “hundreds of people” in the 20-35 years cohort had gathered at Princes Park in Carlton over the weekend, with only “10 per cent wearing masks yet no police” in sight.

“Here is an anecdote. You go to Princes Park, the great home of Carlton football club. Hundreds of people in that 20-35 cohort, 10 per cent with masks yet no police, nothing, that‘s pretty stark evidence of something,” the journalist put to Mr Andrews.

To which the Premier responded: “Let me follow that up. I don’t have a report of that, but I will take your word for it. The key point here is that I can stand here every day and I can lecture and I can try and provide advice and reassurance and the facts and be as frank as I can be, but ultimately I can’t control the literally millions and millions of choices that we as a community make every single day.

“Ultimately, people have got to take some personal responsibility … we all have to try and take responsibility for the decisions we make in the weeks and the months ahead because that will directly affect how quickly we open, if we can stay open, how many people will get sick, and whether our hospitals will be able to cope.”

Health authorities say the 14-day average must be about five for the Government to consider easing restrictions on October 19.

But after Monday’s spike in cases that would be almost impossible, with Melburnians now facing an extension of some lockdown restrictions.

“We need to acknowledge that each of us in really small ways like wearing a mask make a massive contribution to all of those things and it is in our hands,” Mr Andrews said.

“You can have this debate at a number of levels, you can take it at a macro level and assume there is a percentage of people who won’t do the right thing or you can get really personal and really local and say the decisions that are made in each of our households will affect every single household. That’s just where we find ourselves.”

Victoria Police has been contacted for comment over the Princes Park reports.

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