Tears, cheers and beers: Melbourne joyous as Daniel Andrews puts end to lockdown

Naaman Zhou
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

The news was greeted with tears, cheers and, at the afternoon school pick-up, a spontaneous concert of parents honking car horns in celebration.

As Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, announced at 3.30pm on Monday that Melbourne’s months-long lockdown would (largely) come to an end, residents rejoiced.

From midnight on Tuesday cafes, restaurants, bars and beauty services will reopen, subject to patron limits, and people will be able to leave their home for any reason.

It was a moment of high anticipation.

As Andrews spoke, the activist and author Sally Rugg tweeted: “Is Dan ok? He seems like he’s about to cry?” Minutes later, after the announcement, she added: “Oh god now I’m crying.”

For millions around the city and the state, the floodgates of emotion opened.

Some cracked a beer during the press conference, toasting the latest episode of what had become the state’s longest-running, and usually dourest, daytime TV show. Others quoted the famous words of Melbourne’s Nobel Prize-winning immunologist Peter Doherty.

The author Andrea Rowe said she was in the car with her daughter at the school gates listening to the radio as the news came through.

“She’s crying,” Rowe wrote. “I’m tooting. Folks are flashing lights and hollering. The Rosebud school carpark pickup is going off.”

Asked by reporters about his famous quote from March at the start of the lockdown – “[that you can’t] have all your mates around to home and get on the beers”) – Andrews announced he would in fact be reaching for the spirits.

A week ago,Andrews’ “get on the beers” clip had in fact been remixed into a dancefloor banger – and played at a Western Australian festival.

On Monday, Victorians finally had reason to share it themselves.

Not everyone was overjoyed. The News Corp columnist Sophie Elsworth said the short notice meant some businesses “have just over one day to get sorted”. The former premier Jeff Kennett said it was “long overdue”.

But for others, it was a moment of unqualified joy after months of darkness.

Watch: Can you catch the coronavirus twice?