Australia Spin classes in bars and new street art — how Melbourne is changing after lockdown

23:06  23 november  2020
23:06  23 november  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Melbourne 's five million residents will be barred from leaving home for six weeks, except for essential reasons. Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Melbourne lockdown on Tuesday after the state saw 191 new infections, its highest daily number since the pandemic began.

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a woman sitting on a table: No beers and plenty of hard work, these women take part in a cycling class in an unusual gym venue. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC Health No beers and plenty of hard work, these women take part in a cycling class in an unusual gym venue. (Supplied)

Before COVID, Tiffy Sze could never have imagined her Melbourne rooftop bar would one day be used to host spin classes.

For the past seven years she focused on whipping up cocktails, rather than a sweat, at her Swanston Street watering hole.

But with COVID restrictions reducing the number of customers hospitality venues can serve, Ms Sze shifted her business focus to rent the space out when it would otherwise be closed.

"They (fitness classes) say it was lovely because our roof can open and also we have a mist system all around the area," she said.

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As Melbourne faces at least two more weeks of stage 4 restrictions, other nations have longer, harsher measures Chileans feeling the stress of lockdown are expressing solidarity with locked - down Melburnians. "Many times, we felt no encouragement, we didn't even change our clothes.

All cafes, bars , and restaurants must close except for takeaway orders as the new restrictions come into effect. Mitchell Shire mayor David Lowe said there was local support for whatever action was needed but said a lockdown of the whole shire, instead of just problem areas closer to Melbourne

"So after they have worked out and are hot and sweating we open the mist and cool you down."

The arrangement also suited Ms Sze because it didn't get in the way of running her bar.

She rented out Goldilocks Bar for morning cycling classes, which finished before first drinks were poured.

Ms Sze said the spin classes were such a success, she is now looking for more opportunities to rent the space out for morning pop-up events.

While cycling classes and rooftop bars still seem an unusual pairing, it's just one way businesses have been using space differently in Melbourne since the city reopened.

Fitness business follows hospitality outdoors

For Michaela Fellner who runs the spin classes, hiring bars allowed her to increase the number of customers her business could train in a day.

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She has three spin gyms but restrictions on class sizes had left many bikes un-used.

Ms Fellner said she was excited by the Victorian Government's decision to move more of the hospitality industry outdoors and allow businesses to take over new spaces.

She wanted to do the same thing for the fitness industry.

"I was trying to think outside of the box and create some ways to have quantity and some extra revenue," she said.

"The idea was a simple one — do what the bars and restaurants are doing and occupy unused outdoor space in popular places and pop up my fitness studio there," she said.

She used a Melbourne City Council business grant to hire Goldilocks Bar and Section 8 — a well known outdoor container bar in Melbourne's Tattersalls Lane.

"When we announced it people loved it, we sold out all six classes within five minutes," Ms Fellner said.

She said customers were already asking her to run more classes at iconic Melbourne bars.

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Ms Fellner wants to see more fitness businesses join up with hospitality venues and create new ways to use spaces in Melbourne.

She suggested the city could see morning yoga classes at outdoor bars along the Yarra River and carparks could be transformed for use as temporary fitness studios.

Restaurant hoping to create a new street art attraction

Restaurant owner Yi Li loves Melbourne's street art and the way it attracts visitors to the city.

He was already planning to commission one large piece of art across the front of his Carlton hot pot restaurant before COVID.

But with lockdowns decimating Melbourne's arts industry and keeping people away from the CBD, he felt his idea had become even more important.

"We understand that art and multi-culturalism are an important part of Melbourne and enrich the city's liveability and the people's happiness and wellbeing," he said.

"We would like to add one more destination for street art for Melbourne."

Mr Li is running a competition for street artists, who can submit a design for the Victoria Street building his restaurant sits in.

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The winner will be selected to work on a large piece of graffiti art designed to cover the entire front of the restaurant building and reflect the city of Melbourne and Chinese culture.

There will also be a $10,000 prize for the winning artist.

Street artists Jesse Wright, who uses the name JESWRI for his work, painted the first section of what will become the restaurant's large mural.

He said after an incredibly difficult year for the arts industry, it was a relief to have projects starting again.

"It feels refreshing to be able to breathe again, for a long time it felt like we were stuck with no light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Small businesses learn to innovate

Anne Nalder is the chief executive of the Small Business Association of Australia and is proud of the way small businesses have adapted to difficult businesses circumstances because of COVID-19.

"It is not easy to do things at five minutes notice which basically this was," she said.

"Small businesses had to adapt to a changing environment in a very small period of time, so I do commend them and they have done a great job in that area," she said.

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