A picture of Victoria’s chief health officer sitting at a picnic without wearing a face mask has sparked heated debate online.
Professor Brett Sutton was snapped having a picnic in Bright without wearing a face mask – something he has been advising people to wear throughout the pandemic.
However the Department of Health and Human Services website advises that “you can take your face mask off when eating or drinking”.
Some believed the image was photoshopped and Professor Sutton is yet to respond to the controversy. But others have accused the top health official of hypocrisy for breaking his own rules.
“What were his health directives? You must wear a mask and you must social distance? Do as I say, not as I do,” one person wrote.
Another said, “Why did Brett Sutton have his photo taken without a mask in the weekend in Bright? Outside, not drinking eating or exercising. All bets are now off buddy”.
One woman wrote, “He is actually supposed to be wearing a mask like the rest of us !!! If out and about on the beach anywhere !!! Unless he has an exemption he has broken his own rules !!! BRETT SUTTON has made it look confusing now !!! Just doesn‘t look good !!!”
Others leapt to his defence, saying it shouldn’t be necessary given zero cases in Victoria lately and the fact he was at a picnic.
“I saw a photo online Brett Sutton wasn’t wearing a mask,” one person said on Twitter.
“Mask should be optional now! If we have #Zero cases in the next few days masks should not be mandatory. We will have more health issues! And we have had 17K in testing.”
“People always have to look for something to hate on. You can’t eat or drink with a mask on,” another person wrote.
Earlier this month leading epidemiologists challenged Daniel Andrews’ firm stance on face masks, expressing surprise at the Premier’s failure to relax rules on face coverings as he announced a range of other freedoms for Victorians.
“At this stage I am not announcing any changes to masks,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s too much to ask and there are plenty of countries around the world that wish they had worn masks months ago.”
Professor Sutton also fell victim to his own rules recently, not being allowed to enter a pub.
The brewery cheekily posted the news late on Saturday night.
“Sorry you couldn’t get on the beers, Mr Sutton. Proving that literally all of Melbourne is in Bright this weekend, we had to turn away Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, twice today!
“Pictured here with our long-time bar staffer Wayne, Mr Sutton was a great sport when our staff explained that under his own COVID-restrictions, we unfortunately did not have the space to seat him.”