A sunny Sunday in Melbourne saw hundreds of revellers flock to the sand at St Kilda Beach, just hours after Daniel Andrews announced lockdown restrictions would be extended.
Pictures showed locals walking their dogs, rollerskating and splashing in the shallows in the balmy conditions while wearing face masks amid strict stage four coronavirus restrictions on Father’s Day.
The images come after Premier Andrews on Sunday announced Melbourne will remain under coronavirus lockdown until at least October 26, with some restrictions to be eased from midnight next Sunday.
Mr Andrews’ lockdown extension has been criticised by fed-up residents, business owners and politicians alike, who blasted the Premier for his disappointing road map out of strict COVID-19 sanctions.
Melburnians flocked to St Kilda Beach on Sunday afternoon hours after Premier Daniel Andrews announced lockdown restrictions would be extended
Locals wearing face masks wave at the photographer on the board walk at St Kilda on Sunday afternoon. Face masks will stay compulsory under easing restrictions
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Paul Guerra said Mr Andrews’ plan was a ‘kick in the guts’ for businesses across the state.
‘Today we have been delivered a road to nowhere,’ he said.
‘This does not deliver for the thousands of businesses that are trying to keep this state going and trying to keep their doors open.
‘We can’t continue to let business and jobs be decimated on the way to controlling the spread of the virus. This has to end. Business needs hope.’
Mr Guerra said the COVID recovery plan wasn’t good enough and would leave thousands of employees out of work.
‘The heartbreak for members, and in fact business owners today is the realisation that many of them who have been desperately hanging on for months will see their businesses fold and they will have to look their employees in the eye and tell them that they no longer have a job,’ he said.
‘We need to get the virus under control. We are lock-step with both the federal and state governments on that aim. But we can’t just let business and jobs be sacrificed on the way.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg and minister for health Greg Hunt released a joint statement after Mr Andrews’ announcement.
Melbourne residents take to the board walk at St Kilda Beach for their daily hour of exercise on Sunday
A woman wearing a face mask splashes with her pet dog in the shallows at St Kilda Beach
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) announced on Sunday strict lockdown sanctions would continue
Masks will remain compulsory
Mr Andrews ruled masks will remain compulsory and said he has a ‘pretty conservative view’ on the effectiveness of masks.
‘There is a likelihood that at a point in the future we don’t need to have compulsory masks or we alter the settings in which you need to use them,’ he said.
‘Yes, it’s a pain, no-one enjoys it. But compared to being locked at home, compared to people becoming gravely ill or becoming ill and not being able to shake this, and that is presenting in lots of people these days, think masks are we should continue to do.
‘We will follow advice, of course, but I have been pretty conservative view on masks.’
‘Today’s announcement from the Victorian government to extend lockdown arrangements will be hard and crushing news for the people of Victoria,’ the trio said.
‘The proposed road map will come at a further economic cost. While this needs to be weighed up against mitigating the risk of further community outbreak, it is also true that the continued restrictions will have further impact on the Victorian and national economy, in further job losses and loss of livelihoods, as well as impacting on mental health.
‘Of course the federal government would like to see restrictions in Victoria lifted as soon as it is safe to do so, but at the end of the day these are decisions solely for the Victorian Government to determine and the road map released today is a Victorian government plan.’
Victorian opposition leader Michael O’Brien called Mr Andrews’ plan ‘illogical’.
‘Why is it that you can go to the local park and have a jog around with your mate, but if that mate is a personal trainer, sorry, you are both breaking the law,’ he said.
‘There is no logic to it. There are so many ridiculous, illogical inclusions.’
Social media lit up with furious Melburnians forced to spend another seven weeks trapped in lockdown after Mr Andrews’ announcement.
‘Another two weeks of tyranny,’ one post reads.
Two men observe social distancing measures and wear face masks in conversation on the sand at St Kilda
Warm springtime weather brought a steady stream of residents to St Kilda Beach boardwalk to enjoy the sunshine on Sunday
‘Daniel Andrews road map out is a cul-de-sac,’ another tweet reads.
‘This megalomaniac is out of control, the abuse of power has killed more people by suicide than the virus itself ever will,’ another comment reads.
‘I’m disgusted in both Daniel Andrews and Professor Brett Sutton who do not follow their own advise regarding the science.’
Mr Andrews on Sunday outlined a four-step plan for the state to return to normality if case numbers continue to fall.
From September 14, the nightly curfew will start an hour later at 9pm and run until 5am.
People living alone can nominate a friend or family member who can visit them and two hours of daily exercise will be allowed, including ‘social interactions’ such as having a picnic at a local park or reading a book at the beach.
Further restrictions could be eased from September 28 and the government will consider lifting the curfew entirely from October 26, depending on case numbers.
A couple sit on the beach at St Kilda wearing face masks amid stage four coronavirus restrictions in the city on Sunday
‘We can’t run out of lockdown. We have to take steady and safe steps out of lockdown to find that COVID normal,’ Mr Andrews said on Sunday.
Under Mr Andrews’ road map out of lockdown, residents will have to wait until November 23 for all retail stores to reopen.
Mr Andrews stressed the importance of easing slowly into normal life to avoid a dreaded third wave.
‘If we open up too fast then we have a very high likelihood that we are not really opening up at all,’ he said.
‘We would all like to open up as quickly as possible. We would all like to find that COVID normal or go back to actual normal as soon as possible.
‘But that is not the nature of this virus. It is wicked in many ways.’
Victoria recorded 63 new cases of coronavirus and five more deaths on Sunday.
This takes the state’s total fatalities to 666 and the national death toll to 753.
VICTORIA’S ROADMAP OUT OF THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced his roadmap out of the strict COVID-19 lockdown restrictions currently in place throughout Victoria
Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:
– Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records