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We’ve been here before, but it was different last time. WAYNE FLOWER reports from ground zero

Melbourne has been here before. 

Many will say the new restrictions to their lives will not make a lick of difference to how they’ve been living day-to-day since March anyway. 

But even those that have been isolated for so long can’t help but be annoyed that they’re now being told they can’t go outside after dark. 

 It’s more than an annoyance. It’s a mixture of anger, sadness and despair.

 Ordinary folk living in COVID hotspots would argue they had been doing the right thing all along. 

When Premier Daniel Andrews first locked down the state Victorians were still coming out of summer. 

Unlike the rest of the nation, we were told we couldn’t have a hit of golf or sit by a riverbank alone and dangle a fishing line. 

Sure we had a whinge, but we did it for the greater good. 

We did it to save lives, to save jobs and spare our community the devastating consequences we are now being ordered to endure. 

The Victorian premier could have run for prime minister in April and won. 

Back then, the real prime minister was recovering from a series of bungles from our wretched bushfire season. 

And his initial handling of the virus wasn’t much better.  

In Victoria, we came, we saw, we conquered. 

But then we didn’t.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and the clock cannot be turned back. 

The premier wallowed in his glory and then tossed us to the wolves with his handling of the hotel quarantine debacle. 

Then he blamed us. He blamed people who were forced by him to close their businesses and sack their staff. 

Now he pays Victorians lip service as he demands more businesses to close and effectively sentences us all to home detention for God knows how long. 

On Monday, just a handful of businesses remained open in Melbourne’s CBD. 

They were mostly skater shops and EB Games outlets – traditionally shops catering to a younger shopper. 

But they didn’t expect to be open much longer either. 

Some workers told Daily Mail Australia they didn’t want to be working the counter anyway. 

They had little to no customers. 

By Monday afternoon the premier had made it official. They were all out of business. 

Hundreds of thousands of people more than yesterday are now out of work.  

Melbourne had already crawled to a grinding halt before the premier made this afternoon’s announcements. 

So quiet was it within shopping centres that you could hear the escalators grinding as they turned. 

On Bourke Street, the ring of the 10am bell was drowned out only by the ticking of the traffic light signal to walk.  

By mid this week it will be resembling a scene out of a zombie apocalypse movie. 

Some argue the cockroaches have already taken control of Melbourne’s heart, where parking inspectors on Monday continued to issue fines to the few, no doubt essential, workers that ventured into the city. 

Hours earlier, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Cap spoke of a ‘level of exhaustion’ and a sense of ‘devastation’ for businesses in Australia’s second most populated city. 

‘We can’t really overstate to people the impact that we have already seen on small businesses, in particular those businesses where it is difficult to work from home, where they are reliant on customers popping into their shops,’ she said on television this morning. 

‘There is a level of exhaustion. There is a sense of devastation.’

Yet there they were slapping $83 parking tickets on cars surrounded by empty parking spots. 

It’s the kind of mean spirited behaviour Melburnians expect from a mean spirited council like the one Sally Cap fronts. 

Kick em when they’re down. 

It’s starting to have a familiar ring from those telling Melburnians what they can and can’t do. 

It’s become a state run by a bunch of politicians who tell us we can’t go for a run too far away from our homes. 

Our kids can’t go to kinder and we can’t let them interact with anyone at daycare or go to the park. 

We can’t enjoy a socially distanced catch-up with mates. We can’t visit our parents, friends, well wishers. 

Yet the very people we are all trying to save – the elderly – have been allowed to become infected. 

They have been allowed to suffer now, and let’s be honest, they had been allowed to suffer for years before.

The virus is exactly where it shouldn’t be – aged care homes. 

It’s a tragedy. And it’s not our fault.  

But Victorians have stuck with the program. We get that older Australians have earned more than anyone a right to live out their lives in comfort and safety. 

There are always going to be idiots among us – people who no matter how much the world evolves around them believe it still revolves around themselves. 

I’m looking at you Eve Black and all the other conspiracy theorists and anti-mask advocates out there.  

These are the people who toss litter out of their cars and stomp on cigarettes near a bin and walk off. 

They drop their disposable masks in the gutter and some of them go out of their way to flout the lockdown restrictions. 

There will be no stopping the morons from doing what morons do. . 

But there lies the problem. 

Locked away again, Melburnians will largely do the right thing. 

Only now we worry about the morons governing our very lives and those of our parents and children. 

And it could lead us all to much more pain ahead.  

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