Victoria police say up to 100 worshippers who gathered near a synagogue in Melbourne’s south-east in breach of Covid-19 lockdown rules will be fined. People were allegedly spotted entering a building, believed to be a prayer room, near a Ripponlea synagogue early on Tuesday morning to mark the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
The stand-off ended just after 8pm, with several people filing outside. A Nine cameraman was pushed and the group briefly chanted and clapped in the alleyway, with police taking their details before moving them on.
“All adults who attended will be issued with a $5,452 fine. A number of children who were present will not be fined,” a Victoria Police spokesman said in a statement. “Investigators believe a number of other people were present and are yet to be spoken to by police. Investigators are working to identify them.”
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said everyone needs to be united in stopping the spread of the Delta strain of Covid-19. “Everybody empathises there are special occasions and religious occasions and times that we want to be together with others. All of us feel that way,” she told Nine Network on Wednesday. “But it is just not fair that some members of the community feel that they can flout the rules and get away with it.”
In August, Victoria Police handed out more than $300,000 in fines to the hosts and guests of an illegal engagement party at Caulfield North. It was hosted by a prominent Jewish family.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he recognised Rosh Hashanah, the two-day Jewish New Year festival, as a significant time for the community. “But we all have to be safe in everything we do, regardless of what might motivate us,” he said on Tuesday.