A handful of diners braved the wind and cold to eat outside at Melbourne’s famous Hellenic precinct, in Eaton Mall, in Oakleigh, this Friday evening, as Victoria opened up at 6pm.
Oakleigh resident, Jordan Diamataris, 32, said he had taken out his son, Apollo, two-and-a-half, to the mall to eat ice cream and was disappointed with how few people there were.
“It’s Friday evening and Oakleigh’s dead,” he said.
Mr Diamataris said he hoped things would pick up later in the evening and over the weekend.
He said the two sets of rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people may also be deterring people from coming out.
Zief Karas, 56, of Clayton, was sitting with his two friends, Greek brothers from Hughesdale, on a bench at the top of Eaton Mall, outside Nikos Cakes.
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“Where else can you go apart from here?” he said.
“Not much of a choice.
Mr Karas said there were only three restaurants, Hunky Dory, MeatMe Souvlakeri and Mythos Bar,in Eaton Mall, with outdoor seating.
“I think they’ve killed Oakleigh off because of the smoking,” he said.
“As you can see there are (no smoking) signs everywhere.”
Neos Kosmos reported last week that there were 38 “no smoking” signs in the short mall after eight signs were stolen two weeks ago.
Mr Karas’ friend, who did not want to give his name, said other reasons more restaurants weren’t trading beyond takeaway in the mall was because of the need for fully vaccinated patrons and staff.
The friend said he thought many people would prefer to go to Chadstone Shopping Centre, tonight.
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He also said Eaton Mall had been lacking people the past week as there was nowhere to sit and police were constantly patrolling the area.
The three friends said they were going to have a takeaway coffee and then leave. The friends said they wanted Eaton Mall to be vibrant again.
“We want Oakleigh back the way we remember it,” Mr Karas said.
“Full of people.”
Neos Kosmos was in Eaton Mall, on Friday 29 October, between 6 and 7pm, just as restrictions were eased.
The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced on Sunday 24 October,that the state would be reaching 80 per cent double vaccination rates on or about this Friday, thus pushing forward by a week,key elements of his September roadmap out of the state’s sixth lockdown.
From today, Friday 29 October, at 6pm, in time for the Melbourne Cup long weekend, shops, recreation and exercise venues, retail and hospitality can open to all fully-vaccinated staff and customers. Although single-dose retail staff can work and have a month to get fully vaccinated.
Masks must be worn indoors and density limits of 1 person per 4sqm applies. Outdoorshospitality the density limit is one person per 2sqm. Also, all of Victoria will have the same rules.
“The vaccinated economy is here to stay,” Mr Andrews said on Sunday.
He said there would be as few rules as possible when the state reached 90 per cent double vaccination rates in November.