Suburban shopping strips across Melbourne have become overnight ghost towns as Victorians trapped in COVID-19 hot spots are confined to their homes.
Bustling communities a day ago have all but vanished as Victorians in 36 suburbs were plunged back into lock down restrictions not seen since March.
Areas across Melbourne’s western suburbs have been abandoned as residents adhere to their new world for at least the next month.
An empty row of shops is seen at the Olsen Place shopping village in the suburb of Broadmeadows on Thursday
An empty bench outside a closed pizza shop in Broadmeadows on Thursday
Just yesterday Broadmeadows Central was bustling. On Thursday it was practically empty
Broadmeadows Central was heaving with foot traffic last week. On Thursday, it had all but been abandoned
In Broadmeadows, which just days ago was bustling with activity, there were scenes of desolation on Thursday.
The normally thriving Broadmeadows Central shopping centre had reverted back to its early coronavirus foot traffic of March.
There were similar scenes across the locked down suburbs surrounding Melbourne.
Along the Keilor Road shopping strip – on the border of locked down Niddrie and the free suburb of Essendon – traffic had been reduced to a crawl.
A day earlier, cafe worker Naomi Serratore from the Tin Roof Cafe told Daily Mail Australia she would be out of work on Thursday.
‘It’s just disappointing that half of a street can open but we can’t and it’s just a loss of business,’ she said.
‘It’s a family run business so it’s upsetting to us to all lose our jobs and a loss of income.’
But as residents in lockdown endure their first full day under the new restrictions, cracks in the controversial plan are already beginning to emerge.
On Thursday, Daily Mail Australia observed scores of vehicles at Victoria Police check points at the borders of COVID-19 hot spots moving unhindered into neighbouring suburbs.
Olsen Place shopping village in Broadmeadows is usually packed with people. Lockdown has seen it once again deserted
Police at a Broadmeadows check point could only stop a limited number of vehicles at a time. Many were simply waved through
Families and children enjoyed the skate park in Rosehill on Tuesday, next to the now locked down suburb of Niddrie
Police direct motorists into a checkpoint at Broadmeadows
Police had set up booze buses in various locations across Melbourne, including Roxburgh Park, Broadmeadows and Taylors Lakes – all in Melbourne’s north west.
Victorians expecting a ‘Ring of Steel’ were instead greeted by a ‘Ring of Straw’, with most motorists observed skipping the police check points altogether.
Daily Mail Australia looked on as short queues of cars along Camp Road in Broadmeadows were directed into a holding lane where masked officers checked their licences and asked where they were going.
Meanwhile, an officer armed with a wand directed traffic not able to get into the checking lane to move on.
Checks on those that moved through the lane ranged from 28 seconds to a minute-and-a-half.
Daily Mail Australia did not observe a single motorist turned around over a two hour period.
Officers had arrived at Camp Road about 7.30am and were expected to remain there throughout Thursday.
A quiet road in the suburb of Broadmeadows, which is one of the suburbs that has gone into lockdown
Broadmeadows Central shopping centre just last week. On Thursday it was practically empty
People enjoyed a coffee at Brimbank just days ago. This week they have all been put into lockdown
One motorist who passed through the Broadmeadows checkpoint later told Daily Mail Australia that he had passed through the checkpoint with an old licence, that had a different address on it.
‘They just waved me on through,’ he said. ‘It is a complete joke.’
Motorists flooded talk back radio with word of their experience at the road blocks.
Many expressed surprise at the ease that they had moved through them.
Those that were stopped claimed they were asked for their licence and where they were headed.
One woman said she simply told the officers she was headed to work and sent on her way.
The Victorian government re-imposed stay-at-home orders for residents in ten postcodes after recording 212 new cases of the deadly virus in three days.
Restaurants, gyms, pubs and all other non-essential services in the suburbs must once again close their doors.
The lockdown will last for four weeks and came into force at 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Victorians have been warned that police would be enforcing the orders with random vehicle checks similar to random breath tests and would dish out on-the-spot fines.
Victoria has recorded 77 new coronavirus cases overnight, including 31 cases of community transmission.
Of the new cases, 13 have been linked to pre-existing outbreaks, with the source of 27 cases under investigation.
A total of 20 cases have been linked to an outbreak spanning eight households in a Roxburgh Park extended family.