Covid: Melbourne reopens after four-month strict lockdown

Shops, cafes, bars and restaurants have reopened in Melbourne after a gruelling four-month lockdown, which was put in place to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The southeastern state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, had some of the nation’s toughest pandemic measures and was among the most reluctant to lift its restrictions, when the worst of its outbreak seemed to have passed.

But as most of the country emerged from pandemic restrictions, the virus resumed spreading at an alarming rate in Victoria’s capital, Melbourne and it has remained in lockdown since July 7.

According to the Victoria state government the lockdown changes will allow 6,200 retail stores, 5,800 cafés and restaurants, 1,000 beauty salons and 800 pubs to reopen, affecting 180,000 jobs.

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said he hopes residents can now "enjoy being out and about."

Mr Morrison said: "I know you have been waiting a long time for that and I would just encourage you to as you open safely, that's the way to remain safely open into the future."

He added: "But I am sure it has been quite a day and quite a late night for some down there in Melbourne I completely understand that."

"And I just encourage everybody to continue as we open up, to do that, conscious of the various other restrictions and other things that remain in place."