After more than three months of being in a hard lockdown, many Melbourne residents embraced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday night with their shopping bags at the ready for some solid retail therapy.
Once the rules relaxed at 11:59pm, people were already lined up outside their local Kmart store to feel some sense of normality through bargain buys that they’ve missed since Victoria went into a second-wave lockdown in early July.
Overnight videos and images have emerged online of the shopping frenzy, sparking plenty of reactions on Twitter. While some celebrated the new freedom, others questioned if social distancing was really possible, and then there were others who poked fun at people’s eagerness to shop at midnight.
Kmart has also introduced an online booking system across 38 stores in Victoria to address crowd control. Only 20 people can be in a store at once, and 50 outside the shop.
This in itself has led to more reactions online, because who knew there’d be a time when you need to reserve a spot for some bargain hunting? But, of course, it’s all in the name of safety.
Victoria reported two new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday after posting no infections in the previous two days as Melbourne emerged from lockdown.
Restaurants and cafes in Melbourne can reopen from Wednesday, and limits on social gatherings at homes have been eased, allowing two adults and dependents from one house to visit another household.
Melbourne was put into lockdown in early July after a second-wave outbreak that pushed daily case numbers to more than 700 in early August.
Australia has recorded just over 27,500 novel coronavirus infections, far fewer than many other developed countries.
Victoria has accounted for more than 90% of the country’s 907 deaths.
With additional reporting by Reuters.
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