As barista Hayley Kim wound up the large canopy outside Leroy’s cafe in the early hours of Wednesday morning, a man walked pasts, smiling under his mask and said “hooray!” pumping his fist just a little as he rushed to the 96 tram on Acland St.
It’s a feeling that many Melburnians shared on Wednesday morning, as their city’s beloved cafes opened their doors to seating customers.
“I’m excited and I’m nervous … I haven’t served a coffee in a real cup in more than six months. I haven’t done latte art in so long,” Kim said.
“I didn’t actually watch the Andrew’s announcement because I was working but customers start turning up and telling us ‘oh my god you can reopen, you can reopen’. I was like ‘oh thank god’!”
On Monday, the premier, Daniel Andrews, got up on stage and made the long-awaited announcement that after recording zero cases, and containing several widespread outbreaks, that Melbourne was finally opening up.
There has been plenty of talk about “getting on the beers” on Wednesday night, but of course, first comes “getting on the long blacks” in the morning.
A few doors down, at the Abby Road cafe, some of the first cafe customers in Melbourne sat down, at the stroke of 7am.
Greg, Garry, Micheal, Nigel and the rest of their cycling group wasted no time getting a latte after their morning ride.
“It is nice, and the weather is perfect,” Greg said beaming at Melbourne’s grey skies.
“We aren’t too sure about the mask rules, though,” said another one of the group. “Are we meant to be wearing it while we sit down and drink?”
On the next table over sat Darren Reece and Nicole Smith, who decided to come for breakfast while on their early morning walk.
“I’m no a great cook, so I can actually have things I can’t make up home,” said Reece.
“It just feels normals again … I don’t think it has kicked in yet, I think it’s going to take a week or so.”
Smith said it was just nice to see people back at work.
“There are so many people here that wouldn’t be if we were still locked down.”
Despite the early hour, people are greeting each other on the street.
“It’s so nice isn’t it, there are people on the beach, there are people in the cafes,” said one lady to man she nearly bumped into.
“It just feels good.”
Chef Pelden Lama from Leroy’s arrived at 7.15am. He said he was bracing for a rush of customers to come through the doors.
“People are going a bit crazy, you know. There they can’t go out, they don’t have that culture so, yeah, we are probably going to be busy!.”