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Melbourne cafe owner pleads for Dan Andrews to lift COVID-19 restrictions

A Melbourne cafe owner has choked back tears on live television and pleaded for Premier Daniel Andrews to lift the crippling state lockdown.

Match & Co Cafe owner Adrian Rigotto told Today on Monday he has not served a single customer for nine months and says the continuing lockdown has left him with 'nothing'.

'It's been very tough for us all here,' he said.

'And not only here in Melbourne but all over Victoria. You know, we don't feel there is any confidence in the government, his contact tracing, everything is breaking down.

'Obviously we don't want to go back into where we were, but look, at the end of the day we are protecting the minority, and we aren't protecting the majority.' 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews opted to withhold easing restrictions on Sunday as the state waited for the results of more than 1,000 swabs taken from the northern suburbs.

Match & Co Cafe owner Adrian Rigotto told Today on Monday he has not served a single customer for nine months and says the continuing lockdown has left him with 'nothing'

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews opted to withhold rule easing on Sunday as the state waited for the results of more than 1,000 swabs taken from the northern suburbs

Rather than a 'setback', Mr Andrews dubbed the delay a 'cautious pause' to rule out that there wasn't wider community transmission linked to the northern metropolitan outbreak.

The announcement was a devastating blow for businesses that had hoped to reopen their doors by Wednesday.

Mr Rigotto has been waiting nine months to reopen his store and has 25 full time and casual staff on his payroll. 

'You don't understand, I'm only a small little fish,' he said.

'Imagine these big companies who have got shops everywhere, you know, chains. Retail. There is nothing.

'You know, people think, oh lift the restrictions and it's going to happen. 

'You know, we are all going to go shopping. There is nothing. There is no money. People don't have anything. This is the reality.' 

Mr Rigotto said even though the cafe was closed he was still obligated to pay staff their full wages.

The AFL Grand Final on Saturday was particularly painful as he still had to pay penalty rates - despite having no customers.  

Mr Andrews hopes to unveil rule changes by Tuesday and insists Melbourne is 'still well and truly on track' to reopen in keeping with its initial November 1 timetable.

Melbourne's all-important two-week rolling case average has fallen to 4.6, below the threshold of five that authorities said would trigger the next step.

Rather than a 'setback', Mr Andrews dubbed the delay a 'cautious pause' to rule out there wasn't wider community transmission linked to the northern metropolitan outbreak (pictured, a closed cafe at Kilmore in Victoria)

The announcement was a devastating blow for businesses that had hoped to reopen their doors by Wednesday (pictured, a closed cafe on Lygon Street in Melbourne)

The figure remains steady in regional Victoria at 0.2.

There have been nine mystery cases in Melbourne in the past fortnight and none in regional areas.

Former Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos said Sunday's delay was 'unnecessary' after hitting the benchmark, and was evidence of 'paralysis in decision-making'.

That included federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who said there shouldn't be any barrier to Victoria reopening in line with New South Wales.

Earlier last week, Mr Andrews said Victoria was 'very well placed' before tempering rule easing expectations on Saturday after the state reported seven cases.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the premier had failed to hold up his end of the bargain with Victorians.

'He's lied to us yet again,' he said.

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