Travelers wearing face masks crowd at Haneda airport in Tokyo Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, on the first day of the 4-day holiday. (Kyodo News via AP)


Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has moved close to easing severe lockdown restrictions after recording only 14 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

It was the second day in a row new infections fell below 30, after 21 were reported on Saturday, the lowest daily number since June 19. There were also five deaths recorded Sunday.

Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions are due to be eased next weekend when child care centers will be allowed to reopen and gatherings of up to five people from two different households will be permitted. But that depends on the rolling 14-day average of new cases being below 50.

With the lower numbers this weekend, the rolling average is now 36.2.

Victoria state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos praised residents

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My family history in my Melbourne suburb runs back to the 1950s, when my grandmother was a newly arrived, postwar immigrant from Europe. She ran the most famous of the Jewish bakery/delis, Monarch Cake Shop, a gastronomic legend in a crowded landscape.

Over the many years I’ve lived here, I’ve watched small, family-owned businesses come and go. But with every ounce of “progress”, we lose a little bit of the history, vibrancy and character that makes any local community what it is.

Now, as I walk around my neighbourhood during my one hour of exercise a day, I see the proliferation of closure and for lease signs, I wonder what will be left of my little community.

The flower shop whose owner used to babysit my pug for me while I ran across to the road to the fish shop. The beautiful family who run the $2 shop where

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Ms Capp’s approach has been criticised by restauranteur Chris Lucas and private equity investor Ben Gray, who wrote in a letter to The Australian Financial Review that said she “has been fairly absent in supporting small businesses in the City of Melbourne.”

This is not just a business issue. It’s a humanitarian issue.

— Chris Lucas, Melbourne restauranteur

“Ms Capp is running for re-election as mayor, but I suspect that trying to please everybody while not being a real leader will make her re-election very challenging,” Mr Gray wrote.

‘Not Robinson Crusoe’

The founder of Lucas Restaurants said there was no certainty a COVID-19 vaccine would be developed and a plan was needed for businesses to start reopening.

“I am not Robinson Crusoe here,” Mr Lucas said in an interview. “There has been disquiet amongst everyone in the business community about a lack of road map we can plan our

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