Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed how he spent his first day of freedom as Melbourne finally emerged from lockdown.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was out for brunch with a mothers’ group on Friday and says he has plans for golf this weekend as the state emerges from lockdown.
Coronavirus restrictions were eased from midnight to the relief of people who have spent a total of 262 cumulative days in lockdown since the pandemic hit early last year.
The premier shared a photo on social media of himself with a group of mothers and babies at an outdoor venue.
“Catching up with the mothers’ group on Zoom just isn’t the same,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Today Teddy, Naomi, Monty and their mums finally met up – in person. And we thought that called for a celebration.”
As for the weekend, Mr Andrews, a member at the exclusive Cheltenham golf club Kingston Heath, told reporters on Friday he had booked a round this weekend.
Mr Andrews said Victorians should be proud of what they’d achieved over the course of the pandemic and asked people to be kind to others.
“As my kids say – there’s a big vibe today. You can feel the optimism. You can sense the pride in what’s been achieved. And after everything it’s taken to get here, we absolutely deserve to feel that way,” he wrote on Twitter.
He said “not everyone would be ready to throw open their front door” and some people could be feeling anxious about the end of lockdown.
“And the process of reopening won’t be without flaws either, we all know that. It will take a lot of patience and understanding,” he said.
Many Melbourne residents did take the opportunity to go out, with some celebrating long into the night.
Cheers and applause echoed through the CBD as the clock struck midnight, with car horns sounding and residents clapping from balconies and shouting “freedom”.
Angel Music Bar opened at midnight and partygoers celebrated the end of Victoria’s sixth lockdown until 6am.
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp went out to celebrate and said she did not want to waste a single moment seeing the city reopen in the early hours on Friday.
“I was there. I was part of that crowd cheering. Horns were honking. One gentleman was walking his dog, I asked him why. He said ‘because I can’, of course,” she told the Today show.
“That sense of joy and celebration, it’s been absolutely fantastic.
“Of course city occupancy is down to dire levels, so while this is fantastic, we still have a long way to go.
“It is time to celebrate, but we have to stay focused on the main game – that is the 80 per cent (vaccination) threshold and we are calling on the Victorian government to give as much certainty and time for preparation.
“We also really want to see those city workers back in city workplaces and that means that we would like masks to come off in the office once we hit the 80 per cent target.”
Hospitality venues across Melbourne were on Thursday setting up tables and chairs as they prepared to welcome back patrons.
Melburnians were also rushing to book haircut appointments as salons reopened on Friday.
Bearded Man Prahran owner Josh said bookings were “filling up”.
“You just feel a bit disappointed for customers who can’t get in and just have to give them the bad news … but it’s pretty exciting,” he said.
At the 80 per cent double-dose rate, Victorians will be allowed greater freedoms such as statewide travel, indoor dining, school returns and shops opening.
Mr Andrews said the timing of reopenings depended on the pace at which Victorians were being vaccinated.
Department of Health projections show the state would be able to jump from 70 to 80 per cent double-dosed in less than a week if appointments for second jabs were brought forward.
Originally published as Melbourne celebrates end to Victoria’s sixth lockdown, 262 days of Covid-19 shutdown measures