Melbourne remains trapped in a state of uncertainty as the COVID-wary population pulls themselves out of months of isolation.
Tuesday was the first time since February 29 – 269 days ago – that Victoria has not had a single active case of the dreaded virus.
If Melburnians plan to celebrate the milestone, which comes after 25 consecutive days without infections, they’ll do it at home.
Melbourne City Hall is dressed up for Christmas festivities, but it remains to be seen if anyone in town will celebrate with it
Much of Melbourne is still boarded up – a grim reminder of the city’s brutal confinement
Flinders Street Station is hardly a hive of activity, despite the removal of the strictest restrictions
Unsurprisingly, the CBD has not immediately come back to life in recent weeks.
A stroll through town remains depressing for the most part, with once-well-known cafes, shops, and watering holes now closed on board.
The court district – once a thriving beacon of life – is still reminiscent of dust-strewn courthouses from television Westerns of the 1960s.
The Collins Street business district remains silent for a moment, with the skeletons of long-lost shops in the landscape.
Hardware Lane, off Little Bourke Street, is marked with closed restaurants on both sides.
Lonely workers stand still outside near empty eateries, wanting those few who are about to come in.
Dining outdoors continues to gather dust.
At the corner of the streets of Queen and Lonsdale, the usually filthy public toilet is almost glittering.
Along Degraves Street, just off Flinders Street, the scenery is grimmer.
A year ago you would have been urged to find a table there to have a bite to eat at lunch.
The police no longer have to ask Melburnians why they are in town. For months, people were allowed to travel only 3 miles from home
Melburnians are slowly returning to the CBD, but it still has a long way to go
The opening to Degraves Street is lined with empty businesses that have moved during COVID
Very few people were waiting at Flinders Street Station to catch up under the clocks.
Across the road, large concrete barriers have been placed on the sidewalk to stop potential road attacks on pedestrians.
The first real signs of life were evident in the Bourke Street shopping center.
A crowd of people, including families, lined up to see the traditional Myer Christmas windows.
On September 11th, the Windows were officially canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
They had been a 65-year tradition in the city, and they had all seemed lost.
When Daily Mail Australia visited the very same spot during the height of the pandemic, the noon bells ringing could be heard in the empty streets.
As Melbourne pulled herself out of the lock-up, Myer announced that the windows were open again.
While it was a joy to see life return to the mall, there were signs of unrest across the tram tracks.
The stripped-down remains of businesses that did not survive the closure remain a grim reminder of days gone by for the time being.
The dark days of lockdown are etched into the minds of Melburnians, despite their newfound hold on freedom.
The Flagstaff Gardens remain largely empty during the day, with only a few people exercising during their lunch hour
Outdoor dining options in Melbourne should be packed any time of the day
Hardware Lane remains a shadow of its former self
As of Monday, Melburnians were told they could freely walk outside without a mask, as long as it was safe to do so.
On Tuesday, practically everyone walking the streets of Melbourne continued to wear one, despite a safe distance.
Down the street, at what was once called the Parisian end of Collins Street, Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews continued to fuel the flame of COVID fear.
“A large number of days – 25 days with zero cases – is not the same as a vaccine,” he cautioned.
Know that it’s probably still bubbling at a very low level. That’s why masks and distance are very important. ‘
Like the bogeyman, Mr Andrews, who kept Melburnians locked up for a staggering 112 days straight, he warned that COVID-19 was lurking just outside the shadows.
“Even with this zero day streak, no active cases, very strong test performance, and people just doing the right thing and playing their part, until the vaccine arrives, this is something that will be with us in the near future,” he said.
Signs of Life: Melburnians return to town. They continue to wear masks even though they distance themselves
Families line up on Tuesday for a peek at the Myer Christmas Windows
Families line up on Tuesday for a peek at the Myer Christmas Windows. People make sure to keep their distance
The city of Melbourne would undoubtedly want the Prime Minister to cut back on the lectures on fire and brimstone.
It is so desperate to see people returning to the CBD, it proposes free street parking during the Christmas season to attract customers.
For a municipality known for its Grinch-esque love of parking ticket revenue, the proposal is expected to cost the city at least $ 1.6 million.
On Tuesday, the city council will vote on a proposal from the management to offer a municipal parking voucher system between 1 December and 3 January.
A council report indicated that foot traffic on Nov. 18 was 49 percent of that in February.
Because most of the large offices were still almost empty, the use of public transport during rush hour was 32 percent.
Many city cafes remain closed in the hope that one day office workers will return the city to pre-COVID day.
While the CBD is far from deserted it is a long way from Melbourne, those familiar with it once knew.
Famous scenes: Melbourne is inundated with the skeletons of companies that did not survive the closure
Closed shops along the Bourke Street shopping center
The Bourke Street shopping center is inundated with businesses that closed during the pandemic
A Flinders Street store right next to the station has been boarded up
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