MAFS star Hayley Vernon may find herself short a few fans this week, after she shared a highly controversial message about coronavirus safety measures in Melbourne that flies directly in the face of advice from Victoria Health and the premier.
The former reality bride took to Instagram to share a screenshot of official government advice on the use of surgical masks to curb the spread of coronavirus that was published on March 26, 2020, almost four months ago and at the beginning of Australia’s coronavirus experience.
In the initial advice, mask-wearing was not considered an effective transmission reducer, but since then, the health community has agreed widespread use of masks is a useful addition to social distancing and sanitising when it comes to minimising community transmission of COVID-19.
Since March, a second wave of COVID-19 has shut down the city of Melbourne, and Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Sunday masks would be mandatory for people living in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 11.59pm (local time) on Wednesday, July 22.
Following the news, Hayley took to Instagram with an inflammatory post, beseeching followers to ignore official advice and ‘stand up for their rights’ by refusing to wear the mandatory masks.
“I’ll be dammed if you are going to curb anything about me,” she wrote, tagging Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, calling him a ’walking talking oxymoron’.
“I am woke I will not be wearing a mask,” she continued. “MELBOURNE AND AUSTRALIANS STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS.. this is not the time to comply.”
Victoria has recorded 374 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, making it the second-highest daily total for any state since the pandemic began.
It is the fourth time in the last six days the total has surpassed 300.
Fans slam ‘selfish’ and ‘dangerous’ message
Many former fans of the show were appalled at the flagrant disregard for official advice and, given the shattering statistics from Hayley’s home state, pointed out that if ever there was a time the rules should be complied with, it is right now.
“Right now, especially, having such a large platform, spreading such misinformation is even more dangerous,” one furious fan wrote in a Married at First Sight fan group on Facebook, adding that given Hayley’s lack of any relevant qualifications, she would stick with the official advice.
“I’d rather adhere to what scientists and medical experts say,” she concluded.
“I can’t believe there are people out there having a sook about wearing a mask,” another wrote in disbelief.
“[Your] opinions are totally irrelevant,” another pointed out.”Its Vic govt mandated so put it on or get fined.”
Others were simply gobsmacked at what they saw as a completely selfish attitude.
“Imagine being this selfish and self-absorbed though,” one woman wrote. “You can have the virus and have no symptoms, just wear the f**king mask!”
Others pointed out the lost ‘rights’ Hayley was arguing for were being somewhat overstated.
“You wear a mask for literally 20 mins while in a shopping centre or whatever, then take it off,” one gentleman pointed out. “Why are people acting like they’re losing their human rights?”
Hayley’s previous Instagram post on coronavirus conspiracy theories has been concealed from view by moderators after it was found to contain false information as reviewed by independent fact-checkers now at work on the platform.
Yahoo Lifestyle has contacted Hayley for comment.
She’s not the first Married at First Sight personality to come under fire for spreading unsubstantiated messages around the global pandemic.
She told Yahoo Lifestyle at the time that while she acknowledges she has a duty to mind what she shares with thousands of followers online, she is doubling down on her right to share her opinion, though the argument has so far had no scientific backing.
Coronavirus: Victoria’s measures
Victoria recently announced residents will be fined $200 for not wearing face masks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the state has handed out thousands of $1,652 on-the-spot fines to individuals flouting the stay-at-home orders.
Businesses refusing to close their doors during the stage-three lockdown face a $9,913 fine and the possibility of further legal or financial penalties.