BY LINA ZUCCARELLI
Melbourne’s seafood markets are expected to experience a dramatic drop in customers tomorrow, the day before Good Friday, as COVID-19 regulations order Australians to stay home and “[keep] visitors to a minimum”.
As families are forced to celebrate the Easter weekend separately, many are opting for less extravagant platters of seafood, which will see fishmongers quieter this Thursday than in previous years.
For catholic Pina Di Paola, celebrating Good Friday and preparing seafood for her family will make it seem like nothing has changed.
“[Good Friday] is still a tradition and we do want to celebrate it because nothing’s normal at this stage. We want something to be a bit normal,” Ms Di Paola said.
While her husband will be going out to buy fish at Preston Market on Thursday, she does not believe there is a reason to be concerned about people breaking social distancing rules.
“He’s not scared about going [to the market] because the crowds won’t be as big. He’ll be really quick and keep his distance.”
For Prahran Seafoods at Prahran Market, the Thursday before Good Friday is one of the busiest days of the year but is expected “to be different” this year.
Manager Peter Kollatos believes foot traffic will be reduced and customers will be buying smaller quantities of fish.
“I don’t think it will be as busy as other years. I expect people who are isolating at home, or staying at home, will just come in and maybe buy a piece or two of fish,” Mr Kollatos said.
“It’s good that we’re open and that people can get out. I’ll advise [customers] that it’s not busy, they can grab what they need and then go home and stay home.”
Mr Kollatos said the store has the correct social distancing measures in place and believes customers will not break social distancing rules when making purchases for Good Friday.
“We’ve got coloured dots at the front of our counter spaced out. I think the counter is big enough for five [customers] at a time.”
Prahran Market public relations manager Leanne Baker said home delivery services were also available.
“Customers can contact their favourite fishmonger and order their Good Friday fish to be delivered on Thursday, without leaving their home,” Ms Baker said.
Prahran MP Sam Hibbins said people should only leave their homes for essential purposes.
“My expectation is traders and Prahran Market adhere to the social distancing requirements as directed by the Chief Health Officer,” Mr Hibbins said.
“In terms of the public, as for all activities that require them to leave their homes, people need to make a considered decision on whether it is essential or not, and adhere to social distancing directions if they do.”
This follows a text released today by the Federal Government, telling Australian residents to stay at home this Easter.