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Jewish community leaders blast couple for hosting ‘Covid super-spreader’ party in Melbourne

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Melbourne’s Jewish leaders have expressed their ‘immense frustration’ with the video of an alleged illegal engagement party held for a Melbourne couple, as fears grow it could turn into a Covid super-spreader event.

Footage of the gathering, apparently filmed by a reveller, showed family and friends without masks celebrating with the happy couple in a potential violation of the lockdown rules causing misery for millions. 

Two people, a woman and her adult son from St Kilda East, are understood to have since tested positive to Covid, just days after attending the party last week. 

The newly-elected President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Daniel Aghion, said anyone concerned about exposure should contact authorities.   

‘We are disappointed to learn that a small group have not been following mandatory lockdown restrictions,’ he said in a statement. 

‘We too feel the immense frustration at the current situation, and are focusing our support on significant efforts being made to contain the virus,’   

A newly-engaged couple are at the centre of a scandal in Melbourne after footage emerged (pictured) showing the groom-to-be joking about the lockdown gathering

A newly-engaged couple are at the centre of a scandal in Melbourne after footage emerged (pictured) showing the groom-to-be joking about the lockdown gathering

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said this morning on the Today Show the behaviour was selfish and disappointing. 

‘Every single person must take responsibility for bringing our numbers down,’ she said. 

‘The fact someone has organised an engagement party, and found it funny, is incredibly selfish.’ 

‘All we’re doing is delaying the opportunity to open and stay open.’   

Victoria’s Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said on Sunday that he believed the St Kilda East pair had been infectious in the community for a number of days.

He described the developments as part of a tipping point in the latest outbreak, and said health officers had been meeting with community leaders since Saturday.

‘They are working hard, they are very concerned, they are keen to understand what the exposure may have been,’ he said.

Several exposure sites frequented by Melbourne’s Jewish community had been identified, including supermarkets and pharmacies in Balaclava, Haymisha Bakery, Daneli’s Deli and Doms Balaclava Fruit Mart.  

In footage causing outrage among locked-down Melburnians, the groom-to-be in the video is seen to joke about the party’s shady status.

‘Clearly this is legal because this is a group therapy session,’ he jokes, standing next to his bride-to-be as the packed room erupts in laughter.

‘That’s why my father’s here!’

One of the revellers shouts that ‘he’s a mental health clinician’. 

In shocking footage shared online by someone at the party, huge groups of friends and family are seen mingling

The mask-less group celebrated at the party held mid-week in Melbourne

In shocking footage shared online by someone at the party, huge groups of friends and family are seen mingling – mask-less – at the party held mid-week in Melbourne

Victoria's Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said on Sunday that he believed the St Kilda East pair who had attended the party had been infectious in the community for a number of days

Victoria’s Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said on Sunday that he believed the St Kilda East pair who had attended the party had been infectious in the community for a number of days

A Victorian Government spokesman told The Herald Sun the ‘potential breach has been referred to Victoria Police, who are investigating’.

Under Melbourne’s lockdown rules, private and public gatherings have both been banned since August 5, with weddings only allowed in exceptional circumstances and even then capped at five attendees. 

An outraged former MP, Philip Dalidakis, said he was ‘speechless’ and knew the families in the footage, who are understood to be from the Orthodox Jewish community.

‘The level of indifference to the health impacts of our wider community is appalling,’ he wrote on Facebook, saying their behaviour ‘is not representative’ of the Jewish community.

‘The insular behaviour of those involved who have hidden behind religious observance or used other loop holes (incl. health support exemptions) to continue to meet is outrageous. 

‘I am genuinely shocked at the brazen disregard for our laws.

‘Not one person in the video should be there, not one person in the video is using masks, not one person in the video is considering the selfish impact their behaviour is now having.

‘We have all missed out on Simchas during lockdowns. Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, funerals, Minyans (prayer services) and other important family events in our lives. That is an unfortunate but necessary part of trying to get on top of the virus spreading.

‘I hope those in the video are all fined the maximum amount and dealt with in the strongest possible terms, they should be ashamed.’

Daniel Andrews (pictured) has vowed to crackdown on those blatantly flouting the rules after a series of breaches over the last week

Daniel Andrews (pictured) has vowed to crackdown on those blatantly flouting the rules after a series of breaches over the last week

The alarming footage comes after brazen revellers were seen flouting Melbourne lockdown orders to attend an outdoor street party as Covid-19 cases continue to soar.

More than 200 Melburnians flocked to inner-city Northcorte on Sunday for the street rave before the illegal event was shut down by police.

Footage of the wild festivities filmed by outraged residents shows a rooftop DJ blaring music as revellers congregated in large gatherings along the suburb’s main shopping strip.

They were seen enjoying takeaway alcoholic beverages and food from street stalls while catching up with friends in the winter sunshine.

A furious Daniel Andrews slammed such blatant breaches, calling them an ‘insult to everybody’ and warned of ‘very serious consequences’ for those caught breaking the rules.

Many of the revellers filmed showed little regard for social distancing and very few were wearing masks, which are currently mandatory outdoors in Victoria.

Furious owners of the Peacock Inn Hotel were forced to deny having anything to do with the street party, with large groups gathering outside the shut premises.

The hotel said it has remained closed during Melbourne’s latest lockdown and ‘has not been serving takeaway drinks at all this time.’

‘A bit of a kick in the teeth to local businesses who are struggling during this clusterf*** of a couple of years,’ the popular pub posted on Facebook.

‘We love our community and we can’t wait to have a street party, safely and within the regulations (as we have been operating the entire time).’

Crowds were also gathered outside live music bar Open Studio.

Large crowds gathered in inner-city Northcorte before festivities were shut down by police

Large crowds gathered in inner-city Northcorte before festivities were shut down by police

Furious Melburnians took to social media to express their outrage.

‘Lockdown in Northcote people don’t give a rats what the dictator says anymore ‘highly infectious and deadly’ seems a roof top DJ more important,’ one local resident captioned footage. 

Police also kept a watchful eye on the large crowds in popular spots South Yarra and St Kilda.

Melburnians are in their second week of lockdown, which could be extended after Victoria recorded another 25 new infections on Sunday.

The dance party was held hours after the Victorian Premier slammed revellers attended a ‘Walk. Talk. Sip’ event in Richmond on Saturday.

Scores of unmasked residents were caught gathering outside hospitality venues as part of a ‘pub crawl’, according to the premier.   

‘A pub crawl — and that is what it was — in Richmond last night is not worth it,’ he said.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VICTORIA’S LOCKDOWN

– There will be only five lawful reasons to leave home

1. Essential shopping

2. Two hours of daily exercise within a 5km radius

3. To seek or provide medical care 

4. Work or study that cannot be done from home.

5. To go and get vaccinated. 

– Face masks will be mandatory indoors and outdoors

– Schools will return to online learning 

– 5km travel limit for essential tasks, including shopping and exercise

– If your business was closed during the last lockdown, they must close this lockdown

– Hospitality open for takeaway only

– General retail is closed, as well as all non-essential businesses 

– Visitors to the home are banned

– Funerals capped at ten people, while weddings are banned

– Professional sport can proceed but with no crowds 

– Outdoor parks and play areas are open, but those indoors must close 

 

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Written by bourbiza

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