Melburnians have flocked to Kmart at the stroke of midnight to snap up homeware bargains after going without the popular store for more than two months.
Residents lined up outside the chain’s stores across the city for hours on Tuesday night as Kmart became one of the first retailers to throw open its doors again to customers.
Retailers in the Victorian capital were allowed to open for business again from Wednesday as the city comes out of its crushing lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.
To cater to the high demand while adhering to capacity rules allowing only 20 people in store and 50 outside at a time, Kmart has enforced a booking system in 38 store locations around Melbourne.
Kmart fans queued from as early as 6pm to make sure they were first in line and large crowds were pictured at Kmart Burwood in Melbourne’s east.
More to come
Residents lined up outside the chain’s stores across the city for hours on Tuesday night as Kmart became one of the first retailers to throw open its doors again at 11.59pm
The long wait is over! Long lines at a Burwood East Kmart 17km east of the Melbourne CBD
Large crowds were pictured at Kmart Burwood in Melbourne’s east and Kmart fans lined up as early as 6pm to make sure they were first in line
‘(I’ve been here) since 6pm,’ one shopper told 7News. ‘I’m so excited, I just don’t even know what to say.’
Melbourne’s Kmart fans can also now refund or exchange their unwanted goods at their stores after returns were banned under the state government’s restrictions.
Homewares rival Spotlight also had long lines as it joined Kmart in welcoming shoppers back for the first time since retail stores in Melbourne were forced to shut at the beginning of August.
Patrons have been asked to visit the website or Social Q booking app to pick their preferred store.
They are also asked to enter the number of people on the shopping trip, before selecting a preferred time from a calendar with available slots, separated by intervals of 20 minutes.
Large crowds were also pictured at a Spotlight in Bayswater, far-eastern Melbourne as restrictions finally eased in the Victorian capital
Lines snaked around the normal queueing area and extended into the surrounding aisles as customers rushed to get their bargain-buying fix
Two Kmart shoppers donning masks celebrate their early morning purchase after the chain’s Melbourne stores reopened for business
Customers who fail to book during peak periods will be turned away and asked to reserve a spot in a ‘virtual queue’ until the store clears.
‘If you come during peak trade (when our store is at capacity) we have a new service available to help make your shopping trip more convenient,’ the retailer said on its Facebook page.
‘This service will allow you to carry on shopping until we’re ready to safely welcome you into store. We’ll send you an SMS notification as soon as we’re ready for you.’
Two hardy masked-up shoppers line up outside a Melbourne Kmart as Melburnians celebrate being able to shop at retail stores once again
Residents lined up for hours at a 24-hour Kmart in Melbourne but still had to wait their turn in the store’s online booking system
‘I’m so excited, I just don’t even know what to say,’ one shopper said as Melburnians celebrated their freedom in style
Melbourne Kmart stores have enforced online booking procedures to make sure its stores are adhering to capacity rules allowing only 20 people inside at a time
Upon visiting the website (pictured) or the Social Q booking app, patrons are asked to pick their preferred store, before entering the number of people on the shopping trip
Melburnians meanwhile are finally free to drink a pint, chow down on a steak, or see their mums.
As midnight struck across the long-suffering city, the shackles of Premier Daniel Andrews’ restrictions were thrown off – at least a little.
Two adults from one household can now visit each other’s homes accompanied by any children, reuniting families and best mates at long last.
Up to 50 shoppers at a time are allowed outside Kmart under Premier Daniel Andrews’ new restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus
Pubs, restaurants and cafes are free to open once again, after being closed, and later restricted to takeaway, and many going to the brink of ruin as a result.
Streets were alive on Tuesday with staff and business owners eagerly preparing for their first day opening – and some getting in even earlier.
New York-style steakhouse Angus & Bon – on the famous Chapel St – was one of the first venues to welcome guests inside after midnight.
Customers who fail to book during peak periods will be turned away and asked to reserve a spot in a ‘virtual queue’
Several Restaurants, bars and pubs were seen opening up around Melbourne as the clock tick over to midnight on the 28th of October in celebration of easing of lockdown restrictions allowing dining and drinking inside venues. Pictured are patrons at The Cherry Bar in Melbourne’s CBD
Melburnians who have suffered through four months of excruciating lockdown are finally free to drink a pint, chow down on a steak, or see their mums. Pictured are patrons inside The Wolf Windsor on Chapel Street
Over the moon patrons out the front of Three Monkeys Bar on Chapel Street cheersed to the end of lockdown
New York-style steakhouse Angus & Bon – on the famous Chapel St – was one of the first venues to welcome guests inside after midnight
Pubs, restaurants and cafes are free to open once again, after being closed, and later restricted to takeaway, and many going to the brink of ruin as a result. Pictured are patrons inside The Wolf Windsor on Chapel Street
Owner Liam Ganley instructed staff to pop wine corks and confetti guns when the clock stuck midnight, signalling the easing of restrictions
The restaurant was fully booked within minutes of the announcement it would open its doors at 12am people wearing masks lined up around the block.
Excited patrons joined in a rousing countdown as the seconds ticked down, just like New Year’s Eve – only perhaps even more satisfying.
Owner Liam Ganley instructed staff to pop wine corks and confetti guns when the clock stuck midnight, signalling the easing of restrictions.
Victoria free at last: What are the changes?
From Tuesday 27 October, 11.59pm
All retail, bars and restaurants open with 20 indoors and 50 outdoors
Beauty services and tattoo parlours open
Outdoor contact sport for under 18s back on and non-contact sport for adults
Four reasons to leave home removed
25km travel limit remains in place
Melbourne to regional VIC border remains
Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people
Gatherings can be of more than two households
Weddings increase to 10 attendees, funerals to 20
Church services open with 10 indoors and 20 outdoors
PT, fitness and dance classes can be held outdoors with up to 10 people
Number of people at outdoor pools can increase to 50, subject to density limits
Must work from home if you can
Regional Victoria from 11.59pm October 27
Gym and fitness studios can open for up to 20 people
Twenty people for indoor religious gatherings and 50 people for outdoor religious gatherings
Funerals can have 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors
Indoor non-contact sport returns for children
Indoor pools open up to 20 people
From 8 November
25km travel limit scrapped
Travel to regional VIC allowed
Retail, pubs and restaurants allowed 40 people indoors, 70 outdoors
Funerals allowed indoors with 20 and outdoors with 50
Non-contact sport for U18s allowed indoors
Gyms and indoor fitness will be able to reopen
Holiday accommodation to re-open
Religious gatherings will expand with up 20 people and a faith leader indoors, and 50 outside
Source: Daily Mail AU