As Melbourne’s roughly five million residents emerge from the latest strict coronavirus lockdown, reports of baffling excuses given by rulebreakers to police to avoid heavy fines are appearing online.
All told, authorities in Victoria amassed a whopping AUS $20.15 million (US $14.29 million) from roughly 13,900 fines issued during the second lockdown.
Most of the fines issued were for breaches of public health directives: 2,856 Melburnians were caught breaking curfew (8pm until 5am), 1,935 people were caught not wearing masks while some 1,768 drivers were caught trying to break the travel restrictions, among a myriad of other offenses. However, among the thousands of potentially infectious infractions were some truly outlandish tales.
One man was found by police 5km from home sitting in his car at 7:30pm Sunday. He told police he was attempting to escape his housemate’s particularly loud lovemaking session with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, he was slapped with a $1,652 fine for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
Two men and a woman were fined when they were caught partying in an inflatable dinghy listening to music and drinking alcohol on September 6.
Four sex workers were fined while on a break after police were called over concerns about a high number of men coming and going to a single address.
Meanwhile, one man was caught travelling at 3:40am near Maroondah, a city outside Melbourne, telling police he urgently needed to feed his uncle’s horses. Another man was found at a friend’s home claiming he was practicing to become a professional DJ.
One man was reportedly fined for not wearing a mask, claiming he had a bad pimple on his chin preventing him from adhering to the strict health guidelines.
Illegal fast food forays featured heavily among the reports of reported coronavirus fines dished out to Melburnians: one KFC order cost 16 people holding a birthday party some $26,000 in fines on July 10. The restaurant flagged the suspiciously large order with police in Dandenong.
Elsewhere, one couple were fined for driving 185km to Dandenong to pick up a specific kind of vegetables their baby liked on September 12 while just one week later a dad broke restrictions to buy a certain kind of bread his daughter liked.
Hundreds of people were also fined for attending the many anti-lockdown protests which were held in Melbourne. Some 387 fines totalling $639,000 were handed out in a single day in September.
Less than five percent of the 19,324 fines, of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses, which were issued between March and August have been fully paid.
Melbourne became the epicenter of the second wave of the coronavirus in the country with new daily cases reaching up to 700 in August, as the rest of the country reopened.
Australia has reported some 27,500 cases of Covid-19 resulting in 907 deaths among a population of 25 million.
Melbourne endured one of the harshest lockdowns imposed in Australia, with a 5km travel restriction in place, businesses forced to close or run at a limited capacity, as well as restrictions on gatherings in public and, of course, mask requirements for residents when outside their homes.
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