Australian State Bans People From Removing Masks To Drink Alcohol Outside As COVID-19 Cases Surge

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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Australians in the state of Victoria will be banned from removing their masks to drink alcohol outside as COVID-19 cases skyrocket, Premier Daniel Andrews announced Monday.

“There will be no removal of masks to consume alcohol outdoors, you will no longer be able to remove your mask to drink a cocktail at a pop-up beer garden on a footpath as part of a pub crawl,” Andrews said in a press conference.

The announcement comes after a “Walk. Talk. Sip” event on Saturday, which encouraged citizens to walk from pub to pub in Melbourne and buy drinks, the Associated Press reported. (RELATED: Australia Says It Will Give Free COVID-19 Vaccines Once Vaccination is Approved)

Andrews said Victoria police are investigating the events as cases in Victoria surge.

“But why am I angry about that? Because it devalues the work that thousands of publicans and restaurant owners and bar owners, the good work they are doing, diligently following COVID-safe protocols providing take-away,” Andrews said.

A lockdown that was supposed to end on Thursday has been extended until Sept. 2, and a 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. curfew starts on Tuesday.

Andrews also announced that playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks and exercise equipment would close Monday at 11:59 p.m. and permits for authorized work and higher education students would return at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday reported 24 new daily cases and no deaths.

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