‘Disgrace’: Sam panned for COVID stance
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is being squeezed from all sides as he prepares to announce changes to lockdown laws that have crippled businesses and kept Melburnians trapped inside their homes for months.
The Premier will have woken this morning to news that his electorate office was vandalised - the words "Sack Dan" were spray-painted on the windows of the Noble Park building.
But he would also be well aware of the mounting pressure from politicians, both state and federal, business groups, psychiatrists and doctors and Victoria's legal fraternity ahead of an announcement on Sunday that will shape how Melburnians move forward.
It all comes as the rules used to keep Melburnians in lockdown are being flouted by individuals fed up after months of waiting for change.
Melbourne shop owner Harry Hutchinson is risking a $10,000 fine by breaching coronavirus restrictions to reopen his men’s fashion store.— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) October 14, 2020
He told Sam and Matt he's defying lockdown rules because small businesses have “got to get back to work.” pic.twitter.com/CuKjUriJS9
The latest example is from Berwick, in Melbourne's southeast, where a clothing store owner opened his business despite the risk of a $10,000 fine.
Harry Hutchinson from Harry's Clothing was slammed by Victorians who have followed the rules for the greater good but celebrated by business advocacy groups as a champion for lockdown change.
And he's found support in an unlikely place - from Sunrise host Samantha Armytage.
Mr Hutchinson told Sunrise today that he is "representing small businesses".
"I don't mean to be breaking the law, but I feel so strongly about small business surviving … they're doing it tough, I'm not the only one," he said.
"We've got to get back to work, the economy has got to survive."
Mr Hutchinson told the program he has "had a number of visits from police" and "I feel very sorry for them".
Armytage offered her full support.
"I'm not an anarchist, but can I say to you, good on you for doing this," she said. "I can't believe the people of Melbourne haven't been doing this sooner and I feel for the police too, having to overlook all of this.
"Harry, you are a wonderful Australian. You are the type of person that we all need, that we all look to. You are hardworking, you are honest," she said.
Mr Hutchinson said he could never have dreamt about the response from Australians all over the country.
"To be on welfare at my stage of life is utterly ridiculous," he said.
But Armytage was blasted on social media for supporting the Melbourne rule-breaker.
"Shame on Sunrise for inciting Victorians to break the CHO orders," one person wrote.
"Sam needs to wind her neck in, the clothing store is open again today and Samantha is making him out to be a patriot and encouraging businesses to open."
Another wrote: "The support from Sam Armytage was nothing short of disgraceful. Sunrise, she is representing your views and you need it down now."
Others questioned why he was getting coverage.
"Why the hell is he getting coverage?" one woman wrote. "He's breaking the law and increasing risk to Australia. We're in the middle of a bloody pandemic - do people forget this? Sam, you're an idiot for supporting him. Harry should be arrested."
Another wrote that Armytage was a "disgrace".
"How dare you undermine the work of all Victorians. How open do you think this poor bloke will be in a couple of weeks if everyone breaks the law like you're promoting? Are you a public health physician? Economist? No?"
But there is plenty of support for Mr Hutchinson.
"Good on you Harry," one man wrote.
"What's the difference between Harry opening his Covid safe shop (and) a Coles in Melbourne where you are more likely to catch Covid w/ the masses? Harry is what true Aussie spirit is all about - fighting with everything he has got. There should be more of it."
Originally published as 'Disgrace': Sam panned for COVID stance