Hosts and guests at an engagement party in Melbourne, Australia, were fined a total of more than AU$300,000 after police shut down the “illegal” gathering, claiming it violated the city’s ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
On Tuesday morning, Aug. 24, a Victoria police spokesperson confirmed that the investigation into the Aug. 11 engagement party in Caulfield North was completed. Of the 69 attendees, 56 were each fined AU$5452. The remainder were children and would not be fined, SkyNews reported.
“Victoria Police is satisfied all guests have been accounted for and the investigation has now concluded,” the police representative said, while the department condemned the gathering as “a deliberate and blatant breach of the chief health officer directions.”
According to RT, Melbourne is already under its sixth lockdown since the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, or COVID-19 pandemic, began in late 2019, with citizens restricted from gathering at private homes and weddings are entirely forbidden. Funerals are allowed as long as no more than 10 people are in attendance, yet they cannot be held in a private home. People are only allowed to leave their houses for five reasons.
After a video of the event was shared online, the groom-to-be and guests at the party provoked a huge backlash by mocking the lockdown restrictions.
“Clearly this is legal, this is a group-therapy session, that’s why my father is here,” one joked.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is now looking into whether any medical professionals were present at the event and promised to “take action” against any doctors who broke the CCP virus regulations.
“We are aware that Victoria Police have stated that they intend to take action with respect to individuals who attended the event. We will liaise with them in relation to any registered health practitioners who were present,” an AHPRA spokesman said.
According to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton, the Jewish Orthodox groom, bride-to-be, and her parents were the first to be fined.
“We have to this stage issued four infringements at this time, two of those have been to the parents of the bride-to-be and two of those have been to the engaged couple as well,” he said.
“We are now in the throes of arranging to engage with all of the other persons present and how we can conduct those interviews through Zoom and other areas to ensure that we have proper identification.”
At least 10 people at the party later tested positive for the CCP virus, requiring a 14-day quarantine for all attendees.
Despite the new round of protests, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisted on Sunday that lockdowns would continue until 70% of the country’s 25.6 million citizens were fully vaccinated.
Morrison said, “You can’t live with lockdowns forever, and at some point, you need to make that gear change.”
With just over six million people vaccinated, less than a quarter of the population has been properly immunized, implying that Australia has a long way to go before officials consider lifting the restrictions.