Melbourne Celebrates the End Of Covid’s Long Lockdown.
After one of the world’s longest lockdowns, Melbourne reopened on Friday, with jubilant people toasting their freedom in bars and restaurants or queuing for much-needed haircuts.
Since the start of the pandemic, the five million residents of Australia’s second-largest metropolis have been on lockdown for more than 260 days.
Many of the limitations that went into effect on August 5 have been lifted now that 70% of eligible people in Melbourne and the neighboring Victoria state have been completely vaccinated.
“As my kids say,” Victoria state premier Dan Andrews remarked, “there’s a tremendous mood today.” “The optimism is palpable. The pride in what has been accomplished is palpable.” “I’m trying not to come across as a wistful father here, but I am proud, bloody proud of our state.” Residents should “go out there” and “get a trim, order a meal, or buy a pal a drink,” he advised.
Six lockdowns have wreaked havoc on the once-vibrant city, which has long been known for its thriving cultural scene and cafe culture.
After violent anti-lockdown protests and citizens fleeing to Covid-free regional communities, it lost the title of Australia’s most liveable city in 2021.
“I’d forgotten what they looked like,” remarked George, a café customer who was meeting up with old pals for the first time.
He told AFP, “We’re waiting to really start celebrating properly.” “We’re going to lose our minds.” Owners of struggling bars, restaurants, and salons rejoiced at the return of their customers and the influx of new business.
“People are going crazy,” Marcela Rodriguez, co-founder of Vamos Fitzroy in Melbourne’s Latin quarter, said. “They’re trying to book and calling: ‘Please can you squeeze me in?'”
“Now we have to be very, very careful with figures and follow all the guidelines, so I believe that is the difficulty,” she told Melbourne’s The Age newspaper.
People had been queuing since 4.30 a.m., according to one inner-city hairdresser, and were still waiting for haircuts.
Ryan McLerie, who works at another shop, said he hasn’t been able to give haircuts in a long time. “It’s insane to be back today, and it’s a beautiful day, so it’s ideal,” he told AFP.
Despite the additional freedoms granted to fully vaccinated Melbourne residents, they are still unable to leave the city, and retail stores are required to remain closed until the double-dose rate reaches 80 percent, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks.
Limits on how many people may enter cafes, bars, and restaurants will stay in place, making it difficult for company owners who are also dealing with staff issues. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.