People stand in long queues outside a mass vaccination centre in Melbourne on June 5, 2021. (AFP / William West)

Misleading posts claim brothels but not gyms allowed to reopen in Melbourne

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Multiple social media posts have shared a claim that brothels will reopen but gyms will remain closed in Melbourne as Australia’s Victoria state eases Covid-19 restrictions starting the night of June 10, 2021. But the claim is misleading: both venues will remain closed in Melbourne while Covid-19 restrictions are eased for the rest of Victoria.

The claim was shared in this Instagram post published on June 9, 2021.

The post’s caption reads: “This is wrong on every level.
How can the government think it’s okay to keep [gyms] closed and allow brothels to open?!?
How are people okay with this?”

The post includes the hashtags: “melbournelockdown” and “melbourne”.

A screenshot of the Instagram post as of June 10, 2021. (A screenshot of the Instagram post as of June 10, 2021.)

The posts came after authorities announced further easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the Australian state of Victoria, which will come into effect from 11:59pm AEST on June 10, 2021.

An outbreak of new Covid-19 cases in late-May prompted another lockdown in the state, as AFP reported here. Under the restrictions, gyms and brothels were not allowed to operate.

Other similar claims appear in Instagram posts here, here and here, as well as on Twitter here and here.

However, the claims are misleading. Covid-19 restrictions will ease in the rest of Victoria state but not in the state capital Melbourne.

On June 9, 2021, Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino announced an easing of restrictions in a statement here. At the bottom of the statement, a table of restrictions can be found.

In regional Victoria, indoor physical recreation & sport venues can open. 

“In regional Victoria, restrictions will also ease … Indoor sport, including gyms, will also be able to reopen with careful limits on the number of people permitted at any point in time,” Merlino said in the statement.

As per the table below, these venues can operate with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres, a maximum venue capacity of 150 people, including no more than 50 indoors, and a maximum group size of 10 people indoors.

In metropolitan Melbourne, indoor physical recreation and sport venues remain closed.

In regional Victoria, sex on premises, brothels and sexually explicit venues can open to a maximum of 100 people per venue, with no more than 50 people indoors. A density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres also applies.

In metropolitan Melbourne, sex on premises, brothels and sexually explicit venues remain closed.