In Melbourne a few days ago.
Dave Hewison / Speed Media / Shutterstock / SIPA
An immense sense of relief dominated Wednesday among traders in Melbourne, southern Australia, who were finally able to reopen their shops and restaurants after more than three months of closure forced by the second wave of coronavirus.
As much of Europe and North America move forward with fear towards a sad winter of restrictions, Australia's second largest city has not been asked to celebrate, on the contrary, its liberation.
To the point that bars reopened overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, at midnight, legal time of the official end of this measure which required “non-essential” businesses to remain closed.
However, we are still far from a total return to normal.
Lesley Kind, a 71-year-old shopkeeper, observed that many shops in the city center had not reopened, with some appearing to be permanently closed.
"What a shock !
Everything is very calm, ”she observed.
“It's great to be back in town.
But it's a very different city. ”
While the country had been relatively effective in containing the first wave of coronavirus, Melbourne experienced a surge in cases this summer, due to neglect in hotels where people returning from abroad were doing their quarantine.
The state of Victoria saw a peak of 700 new cases per day in August.
Three cases of Covid-19 per day
Melbourne's five million residents were subjected to drastic restrictions this summer, including a nighttime curfew that was lifted at the end of September after nearly two months.
Residents were also required to stay at home and could only move within a radius of five kilometers for a number of clearly defined activities.
For two weeks now, the number of new cases has been only three per day, which has allowed the lifting of containment and restrictions.
The Australian government has estimated that these drastic measures have cost a thousand jobs per day.
Greg Sanderson had opened his bar, "Nick & Nora's" just three days before the first measures against containment went into effect in March, and forced it to close.
So impatient to reopen, he threw a champagne party at midnight to celebrate his big night.
“We were closed 61% of the year, so we couldn't wait, we didn't want to wait.
It was so emotionally draining, there were days with and days without, weeks with and weeks without.
No one escaped this ordeal. ”
How did New Zealand “beat again” the epidemic?
End of curfew in force for two months in Melbourne