Almost $100,000 in fines have been given out within the last 24 hours to Melburnians refusing to follow strict lockdown rules – including a $5,000 McDonald’s run.
Victoria Police issued 79 infringements totalling $97,112, including 23 to residents who were caught without wearing a face mask.
Seven residents copped the $1,652 fine after they were caught checking into a CBD apartment and admitted they planned on a wild two days of partying.
Another trio of friends, who did not live together, had their fun cut short when they were caught driving to McDonald’s after hanging out at one of their houses.
Five fines were issued to residents at some of the city’s vehicle checkpoints and two Melburnians were fined after traveling three hours from Frankston to Murtoa for no valid reason.
Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire were plunged back into lockdown on July 8 for six weeks following a huge jump in COVID-19 cases.
Residents in these areas are only permitted to leave their homes for medical care, food, exercise and study or work.
Those who are caught breaching these restrictions can be hit with a $1,652 fine.
Residents are unable to visit friends at other homes but can visit their partner.
Anyone who leaves their home for exercise must stay within the locked down suburbs.
Face masks have also been made mandatory for residents in these areas as of July 22, with those who leave their home without wearing a mask copping $200 fines.
The crackdown of fines comes after Victoria recorded 384 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said that figure could mark the peak of the crisis but the Australian Medical Association Victoria warned that if numbers do not come down then a Stage Four ‘New Zealand-style lockdown’ would soon be needed.
‘What New Zealand did for a month is that they closed pretty much all businesses other than pharmacies, medical clinics, grocery stores, petrol stations and really curtailed a lot of retail shopping and a lot of businesses,’ President Julian Rait told 3AW on Monday.
‘That’s the model that I would look to and clearly they were able to achieve elimination through that with a month of such measures.
‘I am not suggesting that is necessarily possible now in Victoria with the number of cases but I would suggest that stronger measures for a shorter period might be a preferable strategy to months and months of what we have got at the moment.’
Experts say the numbers have been influenced by people’s behaviour, pressure to go to work and not yet seeing the full effect of wearing masks.
The record cases have also been affected by bad luck and the need for an earlier lockdown.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned that ‘far too many people’ were going to work while sick.
‘It’s not the only issue but it is the biggest driver of transmission.
‘The lockdown will not end until people do not go to work with symptoms and instead go and get tested,’ he said on Monday.