Melbourne punters have let loose on their first ‘Freedom Friday’ to celebrate the end of a world record-breaking lockdown by taking shots, hosting street parties, doing burnouts on one of the city’s main roads – and not long after – dealing with the wrath from killjoy police officers.
Victoria officially lifted its stay-at-home orders at 11.59pm on Thursday after 262 long days in a hard lockdown, with the Covid-weary state finally clocking its 70 per cent vaccination target and unlocking new privileges to those who are double-jabbed.
Less than 24 hours after the state was freed thirsty revellers were spotted dancing on top of cars and pushing each other around in supermarket trolleys on Chapel Street and downing pints on the footpath in St Kilda.
Footage of the frivolous activities showed the star attraction of the night were a bevy of turbocharged cars revving their engines in Melbourne’s CBD, prompting a number of cheers from youths lined up outside of various pubs and eateries.
Police were forced to intervene when the partygoers began throwing glass bottles at passing cars but it didn’t deter the crowd from chanting ‘freedom, freedom!’
Despite the chaos – which will likely leave a few punters with a sore head tomorrow – the surge in vaccination rates could mean drastic changes are made to Victoria’s roadmap, which will be discussed by the Andrews’ government on Saturday.
Revellers on Chapel Street weren’t shy in making their feelings known as joy over the world’s longest lockdown ending spilled onto Melbourne’s streets
A group of youngsters – having spent 262 long days in lockdown – enjoy their first full night of freedom by riding through the streets in a supermarket trolley
Frivolous Victorians couldn’t be stopped on Friday night as they dragged their friends onto moving cars and partied long into the morning on Melbourne’s Chapel Street
The lads are here! There were mullets aplenty among the crew of misfits who were spotted enjoying a night out in Melbourne’s CBD
The star attraction of the night were a group of souped up turbocharged cars revving their engines in Melbourne’s CBD, prompting a number of cheers from youths lined up outside of various pubs and eateries
Anyone trying to drive down the city streets was greeted by a gang of youths who were ready to party well into the night
Taxis were quick to help those wanting to move on and find fun elsewhere clamber on to their next destination
Oops: Victoria Police watched on as revellers paid them no mind – but they were forced to intervene when glass bottles were thrown
In quieter Melbourne suburbs large queues of eager residents lined up to eat at their favourite restaurants, while those lucky to snag a table reservation enjoyed biting into their first meal at a restaurant in months.
Diners at restaurant Claypots Barbarossa were fortunate enough to be serenaded by a live band while they soaked in the atmosphere.
Outdoor diners filled restaurants in the CBD’s buzzing Hardware Lane as residents rejoiced at being able to leave their homes.
Friends finally reunited at pubs for pints of beer and glasses of wine, with groups of rowdy revellers seen in Collingwood enjoying their freedom beverages.
While Melburnians flocked to bars and restaurants, others were keen to finally get their beauty treatments in order at local nail salons.
Even Premier Dan Andrews stepped out to enjoy Freedom Day celebrations with his wife – but his festivities were far more tame.
Instead of ‘getting on the beers’ – a phrase made famous by Mr Andrews during a press conference in March 2020 – he got on the white wines with his wife Catherine as they caught up with a mother’s group at Drinkwell in Melbourne’s lively suburb of Fitzroy.
‘Catching up with the mother’s group on Zoom just isn’t the same,’ Mr Andrews wrote on Twitter.
There was nary a mask in sight out the front of pubs as revellers finally caught up with their friends after months apart
Shout out the the firies! Slow moving vehicles were instant targets for those wanting to hitch a ride
No business was safe – not even the local bakery – as youngsters climbed on top to watch the joy from a different vantage point
Plenty of cars skidded down Chapel Street to showcase how thrilled they were at finally getting a taste of freedom
Hands up if you’re ready for a good time! Dressed up Melburnians took to the streets in droves, stopping traffic as they went
A White Claw seltzer in hand, one excited pubgoer is held up by a police officer in the city
Bike lines and regular lanes were taken up by walkers heading on to their next watering hole
Victoria officially lifted its stay-at-home orders at 11.59pm on Thursday after 262 long days in a hard lockdown
Turbocharged cars were the main attraction in Prahran as excited punters spilled onto the roads
A group of youths were spotted climbing onto the tray of a ute as it made its way through the busy crowds
In contrast: The premier and his wife were seen laughing and enjoying the company of the mother’s group and their children as they sat at a table filled with food and drinks
Instead of ‘getting on the beers’, Mr Andrews got on the white wines with his wife as they caught up with a mother’s group
‘Today Teddy, Naomi, Monty and their mums finally met up – in person. And we thought that called for a celebration.’
The premier and his wife were seen laughing and enjoying the company of the mother’s group and their children as they sat at a table filled with beverages.
Mr Andrews even held one of the children on his lap during the visit as everyone in attendance enjoyed their first outing.
Before his post-lockdown celebrations on Friday, Mr Andrews took to Twitter to post a series of gushing tweets to mark the easing of restrictions and revealed how ‘bloody proud’ he was of Victorians.
‘As my kids say – there’s a big vibe today,’ he wrote.
‘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 added.
Mr Andrews said that the state went through a difficult time together, but the sacrifices have allowed them to open up again safely.
‘I’m trying not to sound like some kind of soppy Dad here, but I am proud, bloody proud of this state,’ he continued.
Drinks for the gang! Pubs and restaurants were brought back to life on Friday evening as punters returned for drinks and a bite to eat
Time for a shot? Alcoholic beverages were poured thick and fast for the thirsty Victorians who joined the festivities on Friday
Lines were long as fully-vaccinated Victorians took full advantage of their new freedoms
Delight was plain to see on the faces of those who have endured almost a full year in lockdown
One group of friends donned party hats for the occasion as Melbourne was brought to life once more
Drinks from the footpath? For those who couldn’t find a seat, there were alternative arrangements planned for
‘We’ve gone through such a hard time together, this pandemic has been exhausting in every sense of the word.
‘And the fact that we’re here today, and opening up, is only because of the sacrifices made by every one of us.’
But the premier reminded his constituents that the pandemic isn’t over, and things won’t simply return to normal right away.
‘People won’t just spring back from this either, the pandemic isn’t over, and feeling a bit anxious about all this is normal,’ he wrote.
‘So if you’re heading out today – please just remember that this will take time, not everyone will be so ready to throw open their front door.’
‘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 added.
Mr Andrews urged residents planning to enjoy a night out at hospitality venues to be mindful of staff getting accustomed to the new rules in place.
‘So if you’ve got a booking, and something goes wrong, please – don’t take it out on the staff.’
‘It isn’t their job to update the apps, and the last thing they need is an argument about vaccines.’
Shots (and bellies) were on show come Friday evening in Melbourne
Friends finally reunited at pubs for pints of beer and glasses of wine, with groups of rowdy revellers seen in St Kilda and Collingwood enjoying their freedom beverages
Two women happily pose for a photo as they they celebrate Freedom Day with a glass of wine
While Melburnians flocked to bars and restaurants, others were keen to finally receive their beauty treatments at nail salons
Women were captured at nail salons as they looked to receive some glam treatment to prepare for future celebratory outings
Two women are pictured in the park enjoying a picnic with a bottle of wine
‘These workers serving us deserve nothing less than absolute respect, thanks and understanding. They’re the best.’
State ministers and health experts will meet on Saturday to review the roadmap for when the 80 per cent vaccination target is reached.
They will look at increasing the number of guests allowed at homes, which is currently at 10 people.
The limit of 150 people allowed indoors at restaurants, pubs and weddings once the state hits 80 per cent double dose rates could also be boosted.
The cabinet is expected to focus on rules around indoor events specifically during the meeting, the Herald Sun reported.
More than five thousands Melbourne punters will be able to watch trackside at Victoria’s Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse next weekend, which will help kickstart the events industry once again.
There were certainly some excited punters on the town as Melbourne enjoyed its first full day out of lockdown since August
Holding a speaker and without a care in the world a group of youths make their way towards the party on Chapel Street
No dance move was off limits on Friday night as Melbourne took to the streets (and the pubs)
Before his post-lockdown celebrations on Friday, Mr Andrews took to Twitter to post a series of gushing tweets to mark the easing of restrictions
Premier Daniel Andrews described how he is ‘bloody proud’ of Victorians after reaching this significant day
Victoria will also scrap all quarantine requirements for international returning travellers from November 1.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday followed his NSW counterpart Dominic Perrottet’s lead by allowing fully vaccinated Australians to enter the state from overseas without spending 14 days in hotel or home quarantine.
Travellers will have to test negative to Covid-19 within 72 hours of their departure and get swabbed again within a day of arriving into Victoria.
Hotel quarantine has been in place for those arriving back into Australia since March 2020 – when international borders closed to all but citizens and permanent residents – with strict arrival caps leaving many stranded overseas.
The announcement follows Victoria recording 16 Covid-related deaths on Friday – the highest single-day toll in any state during Australia’s Delta outbreak – and 2,189 cases.
Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton urged for caution as the state opens up to the rest of the world, warning the easing of restrictions would lead to an unprecedented increase in Covid transmission.
‘As we start to reopen, there will be more Covid in the community than at any other point in time,’ he said.
But, the premier reminded people that the pandemic isn’t over, and things won’t simply return to normal in a short time (Pictured: Premier Andrews greets Bianca Shah in a Covid-safe way)
The premier ended his comments by telling Victorians to enjoy the new freedoms and to be proud of what they’ve achieved (Pictured: Dan Andrews with his wife Catherine)
Friends happily reunite over drinks at Paradise Alley in Collingwood
A group of friends hold their cocktails up as they are snapped at a bar
‘Many of those people will have mild illness cause they’re fully vaccinated. Many of those settings will have fully vaccinated people.
‘Checking in, wearing a mask will be really important, and on days like today, opening every door and window in sight to let that fresh air through.’
While there’s a major sense of relief that the worst of the coronavirus crisis is now over, it’s still too early to ditch face masks, which are still mandatory indoors and outdoors unless eating or drinking.
A number of other hated restrictions will also still be in place along with strict capacity limits on venues and events for at least the next week.
The good news is that the city’s reviled and controversial 9pm curfew is now scrapped along with the 15km travel limit.
Residents can now freely move around the Metropolitan area – however regional travel is still off the cards.
Hospitality venues like pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants are allowed to reopen for seated and outdoor service only, with a capacity limit of 20 vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors.
The vaccination rate will have to surpass 80 per cent before nightclubs, dancing in venues and stand-up drinking is allowed.
General retail will also have to wait until the next vaccination milestone, predicted to be achieved in early November, before trading can return to normal.
From midnight non-essential stores can only operate outdoors or with click and collect services.
Entertainment venues, including cinemas and physical recreation, can go ahead with a maximum of 20 people indoors and 50 outdoor.
Personal services like hairdressers and beauty salons can get back to work with a limit of five patrons after the fashion-conscious city went without a trim for 78-straight days.
A bartender serves two women glasses of beer at Molly Rose in Collingwood
Friends gather across venues in Melbourne as stay-at-home orders are lifted
A group of friends enjoy some beverages after work on ‘Freedom Friday’
A group of women are all smiles with drinks in hand at a bar in Melbourne
Women take to the streets all glammed up for their first night out after months of lockdown restrictions
MELBOURNE’S LITANY OF LOCKDOWNS
Lockdown 1: March 31, 2020 to May 12 May 2020 – 43 days
Lockdown 2: July 9, 2020 to October 27, 2020 – 111 days
Lockdown 3: February 13, 2021 to February 17 2021 – 5 days
Lockdown 4: May 28, 2021 to June 10, 2021 – 14 days
Lockdown 5: July 16, 2021 to July 27, 2021 – 12 days
Lockdown 6: August 5, 2021 to October 21 – 78 days as of October 14
But anyone entering any non-essential venue in the state must prove their vaccination status upon entry when they check in via QR code with the Service Victoria app.
Visitors can also show the green tick in their Medicare Express app. Those who can’t prove they’ve had the jab will be refused entry.
Residents can have up to 10 visitors at their homes while outdoor gathering limits will increase from 10 to 15.
Visitors to homes don’t have to be vaccinated but it is highly recommended by the state government and health officials. The same rule applies for outdoor gatherings.
Religious services, weddings and funerals will be able to take place with 50 fully-vaccinated guests outdoors and 20 indoors.
While school children from Year 3 to Year 11 will start returning to the classroom part-time.
Early childcare will also reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents.
The long-awaited reopening was originally supposed to take place on October 26, but was fast-tracked by Premier Andrews who praised Victorians on their ‘mighty’ effort rolling their sleeves.
Outdoor tables at a bar in Melbourne filled with Melbourne punters
Jubilant scenes as residents descend on bars to reunite with friends
A group of mates catch-up over a glass of beer at a bar on their first day out after lockdown restrictions were eased
Victoria’s path to freedom: All the changes for the fully-vaccinated from 11.59pm on October 21
‘Because of everything Victorians have done, tomorrow we can start getting back to the things we love. Thank you Victoria – I’m so proud,’ Daniel Andrews (pictured) tweeted on Thursday
- No restrictions on leaving home and 9pm-5am curfew scrapped with Melburnians allowed to travel freely within the metropolitan region
- Travel between regional Victoria and Melbourne is still off the cards – unless for a permitted reason
Gatherings in the home and public spaces
- Up to ten visitors (including dependents) will be allowed in a home per day
- Up to 15 people can gather outdoors
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and personal services
- Hospitality venues including pubs and clubs will reopen for seated and outdoor service only, with a capacity limit of 20 fully-vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors
- General retail will reopen for outdoor service only with click and collect services to remain available
- Entertainment venues, including cinemas and physical recreation, will be reopened for 20 fully-vaccinated people indoors and 50 outdoors
- Hairdressers and beauty salons can open with a limit of five patrons
Weddings, funerals, an places of worship
- Religious gatherings, weddings, and funerals will be allowed to take place with 50 fully-vaccinated people outdoors and 20 indoors
Schools and childcare
- Students in Year 3 to Year 11 will start the staggered return to school
- Early childcare will reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents
- Masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors