The Boss's Dog

No Joy in the Naked City

By The General

The Boss shot me off to the kennels last week while he spent a few days in Melbourne - and I’m pleased I wasn’t with him.

He and the Missus stayed in the middle of the city. He said it was closed.

Walking around the Central Business District, every day was like a very quiet Sunday afternoon.

I think what rocked him was the number of businesses that had clearly been shut ever since the middle of March.

He said he drove around north and west Melbourne and noticed, without all the students, that nothing at all was open. The cycling shops were shut, the cafes closed, the market shut, the streets empty.

“We’re a lot better off here, General,” he said, when he took me for our walk along the river.

“Up here in Shepp, a lot of businesses have kept the doors open, maybe with a table in front of the counter and spacing marks on the floor. Most coffee shops have batted on, doing take-away and the motels have stayed busy with all the construction going on - and our cafes are now offering good menus on a spaced-out basis.

“It hasn’t been easy for any of us in the bush either, getting used to keeping our distance and not being able to give our mums a hug, not to mention wondering what’s ahead of us," the Boss said.

“But down there, with most offices in the city closed, there is no reason for anyone else to open. All the people who depend on the office workers have no customers,” he added.

The hairdressers, florists, bakeries, pharmacies, clothing and fashion shops, all the arcade shops…shut.

He and the Missus had a wander through the Southgate Food Hall, where twenty-odd food vendors feed a steady stream of office workers, tourists and local residents. Or used to. Two were open – one Indian and the other an Asian mix.

“It was very sad. Where many of our local cafes have at least managed to do some takeaway, there’s no point when there’s no people walking past. It’s a savage time for those businesses.”

He didn’t see any designer dogs to tease me about either. All gone off to the Peninsular, with their Aspen-loving owners, he reckons.

“We're not out of the woods, General,” he said, looking more serious than usual. “But we’re in the right postcode, with 36 Melbourne suburbs going back to lockdown.

"You'd have to say we’re in the lucky part of the country.” Woof!