Huge crowds at Melbourne market spark outrage
Shoppers have flocked to a popular market in Melbourne, appearing to ignore social distancing rules, with pictures showing them standing shoulder-to-shoulder on Saturday morning.
Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market was heaving yesterday morning, with many Melburnians heading out to buy fruit and vegetables and specialty items at the popular tourist spot.
"WTF is wrong with these people?," asked social media user Amber, who shared footage of the crowds.
"Crowds at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market on Saturday morning in the city's CBD appear to ignore instructions on signs advising people keep 1.5 metres apart," she added.
seriously..wtf is wrong with these people?? Crowds at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market on Saturday morning in the city's CBD appear to ignore instructions on signs advising people keep 1.5 metres apart. pic.twitter.com/eTnMiltqe6— Amber.K. (@AmberX994874) April 11, 2020
Market-goers - many wearing face masks - appeared to be standing close together as they browsed the stalls.
"At least try and control crowd numbers … people in, people out etc," Amber added.
Queen Victoria Market's CEO Stan Liacos acknowledged that the venue had received "steady visitation" on Saturday morning.
"On Easter Saturday, we had steady visitation at the Market which increased from mid morning," he told news.com.au.
"At times, this meant we had to ask some customers to wait in our designated queuing areas for a short time before they could enter."
Mr Liacos said every effort was being made to maintain social distancing rules at the market.
"At all times, we encourage our customers to maintain adequate social distancing and hygiene while shopping with us," he said.
"This includes regular PA announcements, signage and floor marking throughout the Market.
"To protect customers, traders and staff, we introduced enhanced health and safety measures for the typically busier Easter period. These include limiting access to specific entry/exit points of the Meat, Fish and Dairy Halls and queuing areas for customers when numbers exceed a designated amount.
"These measures for Easter are on top of ongoing health and safety measures that we have in place."
Australians have been repeatedly warned to only venture outside for "essential" services such as grocery shopping, medical attention and exercise.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasised that people should not travel over the Easter weekend, to help flatten the curve.
More than $1 million worth of fines have been handed out for social distancing rule breakers across the country since the laws were brought into effect.
In Victoria in the 24 hours to 11am Saturday, 183 people were hit with a $1,652 fine for disregarding public health orders.
Among them was a group of seven friends who were drinking in a schoolyard and a woman caught partying at a short-term rental property.
Victoria police have conducted almost 20,000 spot checks since March 21 at homes, businesses, and non-essential services.
In one spot check at a Melbourne house three friends were fined after they were found playing video games in a lounge room but did not live together.
Originally published as Huge crowds at Melbourne market