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Australian State Bans People From Removing Masks To Drink Alcohol Outside As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Australians in the state of Victoria will be banned from removing their masks to drink alcohol outside as COVID-19 cases skyrocket, Premier Daniel Andrews announced Monday.

“There will be no removal of masks to consume alcohol outdoors, you will no longer be able to remove your mask to drink a cocktail at a pop-up beer garden on a footpath as part of a pub crawl,” Andrews said in a press conference.

The announcement comes after a “Walk. Talk. Sip” event on Saturday, which encouraged citizens to walk from pub to pub in Melbourne and buy drinks, the Associated Press reported.

Andrews said Victoria police are investigating the events as cases in Victoria surge.

“But why am I angry about that? Because it devalues the work that thousands of publicans and restaurant owners and bar owners, the good work they are doing, diligently following COVID-safe protocols providing take-away,” Andrews said.

A lockdown that was supposed to end on Thursday has been extended until Sept. 2, and a 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. curfew starts on Tuesday.

Andrews also announced that playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks and exercise equipment would close Monday at 11:59 p.m. and permits for authorized work and higher education students would return at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday reported 24 new daily cases and no deaths.

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