This digital photograph depicts café owner John Kanellakos with barista Scott Royal during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. They are pictured serving take-away coffee behind the counter of John's family-owned café, 15 Pounds, in Fairfield, Victoria.

When the first round of COVID-19 lockdowns were introduced in Victoria, cafes were able to remain open, but were required to move to a take-away model of service. John Kanellakos reflected in June 2020: 'COVID-19 completely changed our business model, from dine-in table service to take-away. We had to re-do websites, arrange delivery platforms, clear out all tables and chairs, create new menus and introduce new packaging and marketing, all overnight. My wife and I run our own business with an 18-month-old toddler which is very challenging.'

Despite these challenges, John and his family were overwhelmed by the support that they received from their local community and their regular customers. On 31st August 2020, 15 Pounds published a Facebook post, in which they thanked their local community:

'There is light at the end of the tunnel, not long to go. We have all done an amazing job keeping safe, so well done to all. This post is about how grateful we are at 15 Pounds Café for the incredible community for supporting us through this distant weird journey. I really cannot thank you enough, as we hear your stories of how tough it is for many. Hang in there. We are in this together, and we have coffee that helps! We are here for you, as you have been here for us. Thank you Fairfield!'

This photograph was taken by Melbourne-based photographer Julie Ewing as part of her 'Across the Fence' photographic series. This series documents life in Melbourne's Darebin region during the first COVID-19 lockdowns that began in Victoria on 14 March 2020. Julie photographed 120 households and 60 businesses during March to May 2020, and this digital photograph is one of 24 images that were acquired into Museum Victoria's Collecting the Curve Collection. These photographs provide a lasting reminder of how neighbourhoods and households in Melbourne were impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, as well as the unique ways through which individuals and communities adapted their lives and found new routines, traditions and ways of supporting one another.

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Digital TIFF file

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