Melbourne churchgoers fined $16,000 for breaching COVID restrictions

Members of St George Serbian Orthodox Church have been fined more than $16,000 for breaching coronavirus restrictions yesterday.

Parishioners from the church, located in St Alban’s in Melbourne’s western suburbs, received ten fines in total when police officers found them attending a church service.

Current stage three restrictions ban any church services aside from funerals, where ten people are allowed, and weddings, where five people are allowed.

Father Borislav Petrovic confirmed the fines were issued at his church, and has apologised, saying he thought five people were allowed in the church.

The church was holding a service to celebrate the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel. Petrovic said he had intended to allow just one or two parishioners at a time to enter and light candles.

Petrovic said a man positioned on the church gates was supposed to stop any additional worshippers entering the building, but he had unfortunately left his post.

St George parishioners were not the only Melbournians who received fines for failing to comply with health restrictions yesterday. In total, the police issued a whopping 152 fines, taking the state’s total fines to 1690 since July 8.