As Victorian footy fans wake up this morning to an AFL Grand Final weekend without the final taking place in Victoria for the first time ever, authorities are warning supporters of the two clubs that coronavirus restrictions are still in place and contraventions will put at risk the improvements that are being made in controlling COVID-19 in the state.
By tonight one set of fans – the contestants are Richmond and Geelong – will be celebrating and the other will be drowning their sorrows.
But if they’re not doing it in the appropriate manner they’ll be in trouble, Victoria Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius has warned.
Keep home parties in check
“Anyone found to be deliberately or blatantly breaching the coronavirus restrictions can expect to receive a fine,” he told the media.
According to a report in the Herald newspaper, special police ‘enforcement squads’ will saturate Richmond and Geelong to ensure backyard and home parties remain in check.
“We will have a strong, dedicated and highly visible presence right from Geelong to Richmond, as well as other popular public locations including parks and gardens to ensure it is a safe day for everyone,” Cornelius said.
Drone and helicopter patrols
Among the measures that will be put in place today are patrols by the police air wing and the deployment of drones by the Victoria Police’s specialist drone unit.
In Melbourne, mounted police and officers from the public order response team will beef up the existing strong police presence.
The Herald-Sun also reports that any Melburnian hoping to take their party to a local park or beach – due to the restrictions on visitors to people’s homes – are being warned to do it without alcohol.
Public drinking bans enforced
City of Melbourne and City of Yarra Council have a ban on drinking alcohol in public and have promised to enforce that this weekend.
Places in Melbourne where footy fans can enjoy a drink – provided the gathering has no more than 10 people – include Flagstaff Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Jolimont Reserve.
And be warned. If you are caught holding an illegal Grand Final party at home, expect a fine of just under $5 000.
The game is being played at the Gabba in Brisbane and kick off is at 6.30pm.