Melbourne’s shops, restaurants and hotels opened for business on Wednesday after a four month coronavirus lockdown, with happy customers enjoying alfresco eating in the spring sunshine and shopkeepers hoping for big sales to make up for lost revenue. The state of Victoria and its capital Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, has been the epicentre of COVID-19 infections, but the strict lockdown has ended a second wave, with only two new cases and two deaths overnight. “Around 180,000 workers can return to work on site. That is a achievement that every single Victorian should be proud of,” state premier Daniel Andrews told a regular media briefing. “We all have to follow the rules, to protect staff, to protect customers, to protect this fragile thing that we have built…So we can have the Christmas we have been looking forward to, with the people we have missed the most.” On Melbourne’s Carlisle St, in the dining district of Prahran, patrons were seated at outdoor dining tables, drinking coffees and eating brunch of smashed avocado and eggs on toast. A sign outside the Las Chicas restaurant advertised for any experienced barista and floor staff to “drop in a resume”. “It’s quite a sunny day here in Melbourne. It’s not over yet, but I’m pretty excited about things opening up again,” said student Ben Israelson, 22, who was drinking coffee with a university friend. Israelson, who lost his part-time job as a hearing aid salesman in late March, said he was optimistic he would find work through a placement as part of his university studies next year.