Mayor fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions after drinking beer in street
A mayor in south-west Victoria has been fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions after he was photographed drinking beer with two men on a public street.
Warrnambool mayor Tony Herbert was seen drinking beer outside the Whalers Hotel in the city’s main street on the evening of April 7, hours after he recorded a video for the council’s social media pages urging people to stay home.
Herbert was fined $1,652 for breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directives forbidding non-essential activities and gatherings of more than two people.
Herbert apologised in a statement released on Thursday, saying he had mistakenly believed his “actions to engage with business owners as part of my mayoral role was within the bounds of the law”.
“However, I realise that I had inadvertently breached the new laws to keep the community safe,” Herbert said.
“I am genuinely sorry for my actions.”
Herbert said he would not resign as a mayor, and that the messages of support from fellow councillors, the community and business owners had “further strengthened my resolve to do a better job”.
In a previous statement released earlier this week, Herbert defended his actions, saying his “unplanned” contact with the business owners was part of his “mayoral duty”.
“The conversations I had with the business owners were part of my job,” he said. “It is important for any mayor, where reasonable and safe to do so, to find out first-hand about the state of their city.”
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