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During a recent trip to a local cafe, I realized with some dismay that the digital ordering system it had starting using during the pandemic was no more.
It’s something many cafes and restaurants took up to minimize coronavirus risks. You sit down and scan a QR code at your table to look at the menu, then order and pay on your phone. Someone brings your order out to you. It’s as contactless as you can get while dining out.
This particular cafe is one I head to when I’m struggling to finish an article (motivation comes from promising myself I can buy a muffin if I hit a certain word count). This usually means I’m sleep deprived and/or very stressed, so having baked goods magically appear on my table without needing to speak to anyone is ideal.
A waitress confirmed to me that the cafe had returned to face-to-face service as soon as it was safe to do so. Especially after the long months of isolation Melburnians went through with our harsh three-month lockdown, even something as simple as the interaction you have while ordering “makes people feel a bit better,” she said.
New South Wales has lifted all restrictions on dancing!), the question of how much we want to return to normal has been on my mind.
From 6 p.m. tonight, the Victoria government will lift a regulation that had required employers to let employees work remotely during the pandemic, meaning workers can essentially be forced back to the office. Experts are anticipating clashes between employees acclimatized to the conveniences of working from home and workplaces hopeful about a return to business as usual.
And in just under a week, the federal government’s unemployment coronavirus supplement will run out. When it was introduced in April, it pushed the welfare payment above the poverty line for the first time in two decades. Recipients reveled in being able to go to the dentist, do maintenance work they’d been delaying, and afford equipment that helped them find work.
Now for this week’s stories: