Melburnians caught-up in the state’s COVID-19 hotspots claim the lockdown will divide communities.
As soon-to-be-trapped residents across a swathe of the city made the most of their last day of ‘freedom’, Daily Mail Australia can reveal the strange new world that faces them.
In Niddrie, business owners along Keilor Road – in Melbourne‘s north-west – solemnly shut-up shop for the next month while across the intersection, in COVID free Essendon, their neighbours prepared for another ordinary day.
Naomi Serratore from Niddrie’s Tin Roof Cafe is out of a job come Thursday after being forced to close due to lockdown
Victoria Agostino, who manages Mammalinas cafe, (right) and Niccola Nigro will be back at work just down the road. AN intersection is all that divides those that can open and close
Melt On Grill’s Rajvinder Kaur labelled the restrictions ridiculous. Her shop will be forced to offer take-away only come Thursday while restaurants just across the road can open to diners
Victoria Agostino, who manages Mammalinas cafe, in the COVID clear zone told Daily Mail Australia she felt for business owners just across the road.
‘It doesn’t make sense that just up the road they’re not allowed to open,’ she said.
‘It’s pretty sad. Corona is corona. Why is it different for a place next door … It gets very hard. A lot of our customers are on that side of the road. And they’re confused.’
Ms Agostino said the restrictions were dividing the community.
‘And I just think that it is wrong doing that,’ she said. ‘Because you’re making people feel like you’re in a worse part of the community and you’re in a better part… it’s not right. I think you lock us all down or you don’t.’
Across the dividing intersection of Hoffmans and Treadwell roads, into the COVID lockdown area of Niddrie, cafe worker Naomi Serratore was closing up Tin Roof Cafe for the day.
She did not expect the cafe to re-open again until the restrictions were lifted in August at best.
‘It’s just disappointing that half of a street can open but we can’t and it’s just a loss of business,’ she said.
‘It’s a family run business so it’s upsetting to us all lose our jobs and a loss of income.’
Rajvinder Kaur, who also worked in the COVID zone near the Tin Roof Cafe, said the restrictions were ‘ridiculous’.
Ms Kaur manages Melt on Grill a stone’s throw from where restaurants on Thursday will be able to open to dine-in customers.
‘It makes no sense. I wasn’t even aware this was happening,’ she said. ‘Coronavirus does not discriminate because someone is across the street.’
As residents in the COVID hot zones learnt 73 more of their own had been infected over the past 24-hours, Premier Daniel Andrews urged them to ‘work together’.
Meanwhile, police inside the 36 suburbs scheduled to go into lockdown went shop-to-shop – advising workers if they could come to work at all.
A customer has her nails down at a large shopping centre soon to come under the COVID-19 blanket restrictions
Boys shoot some hoops at Deer Park before playgrounds across 36 suburbs are closed
Soon-to-be-trapped residents in Brimbank hit the gym for one last time before new lockdown conditions are implemented
Staff direct traffic in massive queues waiting to get into a pop-up COVID-19 test site in Fawkner on Wednesday
In Brimbank, where residents within suburbs including Albanvale, St Albans, Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Kealba and Kings Park will be forced to stay at home, locals could be seen hitting shopping centres for a browse for the final time.
While women had their nails done, some converged on gyms for a farewell workout.
Others visited the library.
On a perfect winter’s day, Victorians in the lockdown zones met-up for coffees at cafes and chatted among friends.
Come tomorrow, they will be confined back to their houses and businesses will be shut.
Once again, residents will only be permitted to leave their homes for four reasons.
Those reasons are for work and school, care and care giving, exercise and shopping for food and other essential items.
What that exactly means this time around has again caused confusion.
This time, it is even worse.
While John from Taylors Lakes will no longer be able to have a hit of golf, his mates a stone’s throw away across the border will be free to have a weekend hit.
Talk back radio in Melbourne was hit with callers labelling the latest lockdown a ‘sick joke’.
Like many facing lockdown, John wasn’t hanging about to complain and promptly hit the links for one last time.
Testing for COVID-19 is ramped up as authorities try to stop its spread across Melbourne
In the municipality of Brimbank, where many of the COVID-19 hotspots in Melbourne’s west are, mobile testing stations have been erected in Keilor
A makeshift drive-through testing facility in Keilor in Melbourne’s west on Wednesday
Boat ramps across Port Phillip Bay were equally busy on Wednesday with soon-to-be trapped residents getting in a last fishing trip.
Anglers had been livid in March when the Victorian government banned them from the traditionally solitary sport.
They were even angrier when 10,000 protesters were allowed to hit the streets while they couldn’t even dangle a line.
A drive through the lockdown suburbs saw children enjoying local skate parks and playgrounds.
School holidays had just kicked-off with many families already packed-up and ready to head away.
Come tomorrow, school mates in suburbs literally across the road from their mates will continue to enjoy a trip to the park.
Dog owner Juan had only picked-up his family’s puppy in March as the first COVID-19 restrictions hit.
On Wednesday, his family took their pup for a final walk to the local dog park where he could mix with other puppies.
‘It may not seem like much, but he needs that interaction with other dogs and to go to puppy school,’ Juan said.
Trapped within his home, Juan remains unsure if his kids will be able to continue playing sport or attend their Kung fu lessons.
His tennis club is in a ‘safe zone’, so will likely remain open to surrounding residents.
An elderly woman carries out last minute shopping before her suburb goes into lockdown in Melbourne’s west
People visited a Brimbank library on Wednesday hours before it was to be locked down
‘Does that mean I can’t go now?’ he asked.
They were similar questions from people who seemed not to understand that they had travelled back in time to March, when the entire country was locked-up.
On Wednesday, Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville warned Victorians in lockdown suburbs they could only exercise within their own immediate area.
‘You’ve got to think back to where we were in March and April. Again, unless you really have to do it, don’t do it,’ she told 3AW.
Ms Neville suggested residents in lock down suburbs with partners in areas that were not – previously referred to as the ‘bonk ban’ – ought consider if they really needed to visit them.
‘Can we call it compassion and can we call it medical? Again, this is for a month and it’s going to be a tough month, but if everyone does the right thing, it is only for a month,’ she said.