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Melbourne Covid outbreak: Port Park Cafe owner had no idea his store was exposed to Covid

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A Melbourne cafe owner said he wasn’t aware his store had been exposed to Covid until a customer informed him that the venue was meant to be closed.

Port Park Cafe in Port Melbourne is considered a Tier 1 exposure site, however owner Charlie Nasr was none the wiser and continued business as usual for more than an hour on Wednesday morning.

A Covid-positive patron attended the coffee shop on Monday May 24 between 12.30pm and 1pm.

Mr Nasr told Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Wednesday morning that a customer said to him ‘you’re listed as one of the exposure sites’.’

Mr Nasr said he didn’t receive communication from health authorities until 8am.

Port Park Cafe in Port Melbourne is considered a Tier 1 exposure site, however owner Charlie Nasr wasn’t aware and continued business as usual for more than an hour on Wednesday

A Covid-positive patron attended the coffee shop on Monday May 24 between 12.30pm and 1pm

A Covid-positive patron attended the coffee shop on Monday May 24 between 12.30pm and 1pm

‘I got a phone call from a lady from the South East Public Health Unit for Monash Health and that was at about 8am … advising me that I’m an exposure site,’ he said.

‘We were open and we were an exposure site but we had no idea that we were. That’s where we were a bit upset.

‘I’ve had customers calling up all day panicking because I served them this morning.’

Tier one exposure sites require anyone who visited a certain venue to get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result. 

Anyone who visited a tier two venue only needs to isolate until they receive a negative result. 

Melbourne’s Covid outbreak is now at 15 cases, with 11 new infections – five of which were announced late on Tuesday. 

The latest infection was confirmed just before Acting Premier James Merlino gave an update on Wednesday morning.

He said the next 24 hours would be critical as the government considered further restrictions.

‘I cannot rule out taking some further action, but we will update people as soon as we know,’ Mr Merlino said.

‘It’s fair to say the 24 hours are going to be particularly critical.

‘It’s good that everyone (cases) is linked at this stage, but we are concerned about the number and also about the kind of exposure sites.’

Genomic sequencing shows the outbreak is linked to the case of a Wollert man, who contracted the virus in South Australian quarantine earlier this month.

The man, in his 60s, could be the possible ‘source case’ for the City of Whittlesea outbreak, although a definitive link is yet to be established.

Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia have significantly tightened their borders to Victoria while stopping short of slamming them shut for most travellers.

State Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said Victorians were on edge.

Masks are mandatory indoors for people 12 and over, but can be taken off for eating, drinking and exercise

Masks are mandatory indoors for people 12 and over, but can be taken off for eating, drinking and exercise

Genomic sequencing shows the outbreak is linked to the case of a Wollert man, who contracted the virus in South Australian quarantine earlier this month

Genomic sequencing shows the outbreak is linked to the case of a Wollert man, who contracted the virus in South Australian quarantine earlier this month

‘The government (has) to learn the lessons of this stuff-ups in the past and fix it for now because we cannot afford another lockdown,’ he said.

The number and spread of exposure sites around Melbourne has grown rapidly, from 10 on Tuesday to 50 on Wednesday morning, including the MCG.

Health Minister Martin Foley said there was ‘concern’ about three inner-suburban entertainment venues on Saturday night and Sunday morning that were tier-one exposure sites – Three Monkeys and the Somewhere Bar in Prahran, and South Yarra’s Circus Bar.

The new cases come as one of the infected people from the growing coronavirus cluster in Melbourne’s north attended an AFL match at the MCG at the weekend, prompting a government health warning.

The infected fan was at the Collingwood-Port Adelaide game at the MCG on Sunday, sitting in zone 4, level 1 of the Great Southern Stand at the Punt Road end.

The number and spread of exposure sites around Melbourne has grown rapidly, from 10 on Tuesday to 50 on Wednesday morning, including the MCG

The number and spread of exposure sites around Melbourne has grown rapidly, from 10 on Tuesday to 50 on Wednesday morning, including the MCG

Spectators who sat in the same area are being contacted by Victoria’s health department using data from tickets and QR codes. They will have to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Others who sat in the surrounding area are being told to go for testing if they develop symptoms.

In response to the unfolding outbreak, home gatherings are now limited to five visitors a day and public gatherings restricted to 30 people until at least June 4.

Masks are mandatory indoors for people 12 and over, but can be taken off for eating, drinking and exercise.

Schools and workplaces remain open, as are shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs and existing density limits apply.

The restrictions apply to Greater Melbourne, or people travelling into regional Victoria.

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