Why the defiant pub owner in Victoria refuses to close and won’t let his customers wear masks

Why the rebellious pub owner in jailed Victoria REFUSES to close and won’t let his customers wear masks or social distancing

  • Pastoral Hotel owner in Echuca reopens despite lockdown rules
  • Trevor Andrews said he was taking a stand because other stores stayed open
  • He had bills over $4000 a month and said he could open
  • Mr Andrews said he knew he would be fined and even lose the pub’s licence
  • Victorian businesses can be fined up to $9,913 for Covid rule violations

A Victorian tax collector has turned his nose up at Victoria’s ongoing Covid lockdown restrictions by reopening his country pub to pay his bills.

Trevor Andrews reopened his Pastoral Hotel in Echuca, 220km north of Melbourne on the NSW-Victoria border, following the announcement on Facebook on 17 July.

“Because of the fact that you are allowed to shop at all the major stores that are allowed to operate because of this so-called ‘pandemic’… while other small business owners go to the wall… I have decided that I will give my hotel, The Pastoral Hotel Echuca , open for full dining services in the bistro and bar.’

“This pandemic will never end and the people of Victoria will never recover if we don’t take a stand!” he wrote in a follow-up message.

Owner Trevor Andrews reopened the Pastoral Hotel, Echuca, in the country of Victoria, arguing that he should be allowed to open like other stores, such as supermarkets

Mr Andrews said his bills in excess of $4000 a month meant he had no choice but to reopen

Mr Andrews said his bills in excess of $4000 a month meant he had no choice but to reopen

Mr Andrews protested that his company had followed Covid safe procedures ‘since day one’.

“We should be allowed to open.”

Despite his claim, a 9News Release upon its reopening, it showed customers without masks and most who disregarded social distancing requirements.

The extension of lockdown restrictions to rural and regional areas of Victoria has been controversial, but justified by the state’s health officer Brett Sutton, as a third of the state’s primary close contacts were located there.

“We’ve seen significant and isolated outbreaks in regional areas — on Phillip Island, in Bacchus Marsh, Barwon Heads and as far away as Mildura,” said Dr. Sutton Monday.

But Mr Andrews said he had no choice but to reopen the Pastoral.

“Our bills here… you’re looking at a $3,000 a month electric bill, a $1,000 a month gas bill, let alone the insurance, wages and everything else,” he told 9News.

He said local police had visited him this week to warn him that it was not allowed to serve beer and food to customers and that he expected to be fined.

“Ultimately, they can probably take my driver’s license away,” said Mr Andrews. “And then I have no pub – the beer but no pub.”

Mr Andrews Facebook post on July 17 announcing that he was leaving his hotel in Echuca.  would reopen

Mr Andrews Facebook post on July 17 announcing that he was leaving his hotel in Echuca. would reopen

Mr Andrews serves a masked customer at the Pastoral Hotel, Echuca, despite lockdown restrictions requiring the pub to be closed

Mr Andrews serves a masked customer at the Pastoral Hotel, Echuca, despite lockdown restrictions requiring the pub to be closed

People were seen dining in Pastoral's bistro on Monday, in violation of Victorian Covid restrictions

People were seen dining in Pastoral’s bistro on Monday, in violation of Victorian Covid restrictions

Victorian businesses can be fined $1,652 on the spot for not having a QR code and social distancing signage.

Additional fines up to $9,913, or an injunction to close the business, could be issued for continued, blatant or intentional non-compliance with the Covid lockdown rules.

Victoria registered 22 new local cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday as the state entered the first day of an extended seven-day lockdown.

The new community cases were all linked to known outbreaks.

Victoria is in its fifth lockdown since the pandemic hit Australia’s shores early last year and its third so far in 2021.

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