Police are looking into whether one of their own staff gatherings conducted in a high-risk area of Sydney, Australia, violated any Covid-19 restrictions. The annual “Wear it Purple Day” youth LGBTQI+ awareness day was held last week, and the Mount Druitt Police Command hosted a celebration at its headquarters where officers gathered together to share cake and other snacks.
A photo of a large group of employees was shared on Facebook with the caption “Happy Wear it Purple Day. Follow your rainbow and start the conversation!” Another photo shows an employee not wearing a mask. The posts were quickly removed from the social media platform.
Rebel News reports that the July celebration may have breached the area’s Covid health orders. At the time, Sydney was under a severe stay-at-home order, and the police station is located in one of the designated high-risk areas.
Public health orders in the region prohibited office functions, and the state’s chief health officer has often stated that office workers should not congregate in lunch or break rooms. However, emergency services are exempt from the no-gathering regulation to allow them to do their jobs. New South Wales police said that they are “aware of the images and an internal review is underway to determine, if any, there are any breaches of Public Health Orders.”
Diversity and inclusion events are not on the approved list of necessary services allowed to take place. Police officers are allowed to work but not to throw parties. During the lockdown, Sydney residents are not permitted to have parties of any kind. They can register a friend with the police under the government’s “singles bubble” rule, but they must live within 5 kilometers of each other. Citizens are also subject to compliance checks, in which residents can anticipate a police knock on their doors at any time.
Mount Druitt is in the City of Blacktown. This area reportedly has had one of the highest rates of Covid cases in Sydney since mid-June. The gathering inside the police station came across as inconsiderate to the community’s struggles.
Australia has been subject to some of the most extreme Covid-19 regulations globally, sparking large protests in the streets and a threat from truck drivers to shut down the entire country by blocking highways across the nation.