Removing Your Face Mask to Drink Alcohol in Public Is Now Allowed Again in Melbourne
Your lockdown-approved picnics can now include drinks, with the Victorian Government scrapping one of its strict mask rules.
Since mid-September, picnics have been permitted again under Melbourne's lockdown rules, including in groups of up to five adults from two households if you're all fully vaccinated. But while you've been gathering your double-jabbed pals, throwing down a rug and breaking out the cheese, you haven't been able to pair those park visits with alcohol — because removing your face mask to drink booze in public has been banned since mid-August.
As of today, Saturday, October 9, however, that situation has changed, with saying cheers over a picnic spread now allowed once more. Victoria's Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton announced the news at a press conference on Friday, October 8.
Revealing that the public health directions were changing to "allow the removal of masks outdoors for the consumption of alcohol", Sutton called the move "small but important" — and said that it's "really a reflection of a push to more outdoor recreational activities, including picnics". He also noted that it's "a welcome change to many", as Melburnians no doubt agree. So, if you're packing an esky for your weekend trip to the park, you can now fill it with the hard stuff.
The rule banning taking off your mask to drink alcohol in public originally came into effect after reports of people flouting lockdown restrictions not long after this current lockdown — Melbourne's sixth — began, including via venue crawls and big outdoor gatherings.
Now that this strict mask restriction has changed, Melburnians will obviously still need to abide by all other lockdown conditions currently in place. That includes remaining within 15 kilometres from home when you're going out for outdoor social interaction, which is the rule allowing picnics. The four-hour limit for outdoor social interaction also remains in effect.
And, you do still need to wear your mask at all times when you're out of the house, unless you're eating or drinking — which now includes booze.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 and the current restrictions, head over to the Victorian Government's website.
Top image: Royal Botanic Gardens via Visit Victoria.
Published on October 09, 2021 by Sarah Ward