A bar in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy has been whacked with a steep fine totally nearly $10,000 for staying open despite the on-going coronavirus shutdown directives.
Victoria Police officials the bar was the first business in the state to receive the $9,913 fine for flouting shutdown restrictions after police officers observed multiple people being served alcohol at the premises on Saturday night.
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton stated that the bar and restaurant was observed with six staff working inside and two patrons drinking on Saturday night. While bars and restaurants are permitted to operate takeaway services only with no dine- or drink-in seating, Patton stated that the premises was “being treated as open for business.”
“[Bar staff] weren’t cooperative, they refused to say how long they had been open and they refused to state why they were open. Essentially a ‘no comment’ response,” Patton said.
Patton stated that Police have so far exercised leniency in dealing with shutdown transgressions, but the time for subtlety was over.
“It’s the first time we’ve issued an infringement but it won’t be the last. I can assure you,” he said. “We’ve been fairly lenient, we’ve issued a lot of warnings but I think now the time for that has passed. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or unless you’re an idiot, you’re quite clear that the restrictions are there… so we are going to be enforcing them from today.”
The identity and exact location of the bar have not been revealed.
Police confirmed that no individual in Victoria has so far been subject to a fine for ignoring social movement restrictions.
Victoria officially moved to “Stage 3” lockdown procedures as of 12:01am Tuesday morning.