The outdoor Café and Covid.

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If Covid-19 showed up anything it was the plight of people being denied the pleasure of outdoor coffee sipping. Distance keeping and avoiding each other became the norm and even now, dire warnings are still out to keep distance and avoid too much closeness with each other. At one stage last year, High Governmental Officers were toying with the idea banning conjugal cohabitations except between certain hours and within a space not larger than 6 sq meters while wearing special distance measuring guides. Numbers of guests at marriages were restricted to two only, excluding the couple to be married. ( no kissing or exchange of bands)

 

Australia is now threatening its own citizens with jail if they dare to even  think of the  idea of coming back home  from overseas, especially if having stayed in India.  The fear of contact lingers on!  As a compromise the lawmakers have now eased the rule on cafés and outdoor venues. And, boy oh boy, have we welcomed that! All that pent up demand. A torrent of coffee aficionados converging on the outdoor venues, people shouting with joy, dancing on the street.

It wasn’t always like that. After our arrival in 1956, coffee was frowned upon as a brown, filthy and decadent ‘foreign’ habit best left behind with other filth and Euro habits such as the dreaded incursion of strange languages never heard before, and certain foods, garlic and salami to name a couple. Banana sandwiches and cucumber pickle with ham was about as far our culinary courage dared go, with a nice cuppa tea afterwards.

I remember one of the first outdoor cafés to open up in Balmain where we were living from the sixties till the mid nineties.  It wasn’t without controversy. ‘Haven’t people got something better to do do than sit around drinking coffee’? What about pedestrians stumbling over the chairs on the footpath, was another objection’ ? Well, throughout the last few decades coffee drinking at outdoor cafes have been taken on as nowhere else in the world. We need the social aspect of meeting people and talk as much as we need food. Social isolation might have been necessary to avoid Covid-19 but it came at a price. The government is providing hundreds of millions of dollars into mental health care. We are not meant to keep distances and separations from each other. We need closeness, social intercourse and hugs more than ever before. 

Cafes offer us that opportunity to catch up. 

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23 Responses to “The outdoor Café and Covid.”

  1. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    The town of Mudgee has approximately 27 cafés! They are all full on the weekends with visitors to the town and people outside queuing for a table. There’s a happy vibe in the air. Coffee certainly is a favourite beverage in this town.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, go Mudgee,
      The more cafes the better. We have a café here in Mittagong where people queue up for a coffee from morning to closing time. It is so gratifying to see how people interact while they stand there, often with babies in prams and dogs on leads. It is a very intimate scene.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. leggypeggy Says:

    Way back when Gus, a cafe owner, dared to set up tables outdoors. Gus is long gone, but outdoor dining is a welcome feature of Canberra.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh yes, Peggy.
      A few weeks ago when at the Canberra Gallery we waited for our coffee and avocado spread toast.
      The place was rocking and a genius of an innovator even put deck chairs in the garden behind the Gallery’s café. It really added to our day there.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. auntyuta Says:

    I am so waiting for some work to be done in my backyard so I can have some nice seating there and for visitors to be able to sit outside with me to have a cup of coffee! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Maybe one of the positive outcomes of Covid, Gerard, was it reminded us just how important social interaction is to being human. It is no longer taken for granted. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • freefall852 Says:

      Dunno, Curt…Having reached a “certain age” gives one insight via repititious familiarity to the too few differing types of personality of peoples…one gets a tad jaded of meeting similar types…” like Deja vu all over again”…and recognition of dress-style, conversation choice and/or body-language gives more than clue of who one is meeting..Recently joined a choir to give the old voice-box a run for its money…and though it was a new gathering of chorists, it didn’t take long before the control-freaks and guitar players started trying to inflict song-choices and that “Kumbaya moment” onto the group…so I say that sometimes one can have too much “social interaction” and that is why I tell everybody that we live out here in the ” Murray Mallee” in splendid isolation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I find my coffee group to be very genial and friendly Jo, and I would be very sad missing out on the social benefits of daily chatting and laughing. We do touch upon serious issues and the reporting of political chicanery but on the whole we have respect and consideration for each of us…
        The main feeling is of well being after the meeting at the Stumps café.
        I would have thought that choirs are very united, after all they have to sing together in unity. I can’t sing for peanuts, just can’t hold a note.

        Like

      • freefall852 Says:

        Well, of course the congenial meeting of a group for light refreshments places little strain on casual relationships..regardless of touching upon topical subjects..it is all voluntary / noncommital company and all the better for it with a coffee!….But as in a choir there must be a mutually agreeable song chosen, then the “united voice” of the whole group to sing in unison..as you so correctly state..there has to be discussion and agreed choosing of that song…this is where dissention can arise…So does the choir sing to the rafters with a rousing unified voice the old standard ; “Abide With Me”..or do we swing and jive along with a caberet hit song like..well..”Caberet”..?..that is the question..and ..ah!..people, people…

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Perhaps in any group that one gets drawn to there is some self-editing or censoring going on. A group generally comes together with similar ideologically shared ideas or subjects.
        I would not easily get on with Trump admirers or wife beaters.

        A choir that insists on singing music that are not in tune with one that is desired might be a sign to find a choir more suitable and liking.

        I know what you mean though, Jo. Before moving here in Mittagong last year the previous address I lived at in Bowral, a situation arose whereby the only option for me was to sell up and move. I found myself unable to keep living there because of a person who was pathologically so unyielding in hearing me that I had to move away.

        It has been the only time that a problem could not be solved and in my eighty years that is some achievement.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Laughing. I get it. Peggy and I live in the boonies as well. It took a year for our realtor to realize I was serious when I said I didn’t want to see someone else house and wanted to be backed up to National Forest. A few good friends are always valuable, however. –Curt

        Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Curt, I really think that social interaction is so important. It makes my day and I do try and talk each day to someone, even if it is just when walking the dog.
      Smiling helps too. It’s no good looking like a thunderstorm.

      Like

  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    So true! 🙂
    And YAY! For outdoor sippin’, eatin’, talkin’, visitin’, laughin’! It is THE bestest! Glad it can happen again in some places!
    Having lived in places that have nice weather 3 out of 4 seasons of the year most restaurants and cafes and pubs, etc., here having at least least some outdoor dining spaces. I’ve always enjoyed that!
    Ha! I typed “mice weather” 🐭 and had to correct it to nice! 😀
    HUGS!!! to you! 🙂
    PATS and RUBS to Milo! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, even mice weather is better than rat weather! Talking about mice. Australia is facing a very large mice plague and farmers are at a witch end. Millions and million of mice, falling over each other.
      The nights are full of their shrieking and keeping people awake.
      Yes, there is nothing like meeting with friends and family over a coffee outside. Australia is the perfect place with sun almost guaranteed each day.
      Pats to you and hug to Cooper. I mean the other way around or both.
      Have a look at this mice plague.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres Says:

    My favorite cafe had to move because the spot it was in gave way to a new hospital complex, but they found a place to move to, and are almost ready to open. There’s an old restaurant that I love, too. It’s not at all a “coffee shop” or “café.” It’s just a place where locals gather and tourists pass by because they think it’s not bright and shiny enough. But there are good people, and great conversation, and always a lot of joking around. Masks are no longer mandatory here, and it’s clear that being able to smile and converse even in such simple places as grocery lines is cheering people up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that is right. A smile does a lot and it is surprising how many smile back. A café making place for a hospital is better than making place for a highway or car yard.
      Here Cafes are doing well and so are tourist ventures. The federal government has given four $25 vouchers to all permanent residents which they can spend at cafes, restaurants or tourist ventures.
      So, Cafes are more busy than usual.
      The Bradman cricket café and its museum is where I will spend the four vouchers.
      It’s a hub for young and old and one sees same faces all the time. It fulfills an excellent role in community feelings with the opportunity of sharing love and happiness but also losses and suffering.

      Like

  7. rangewriter Says:

    I’m in a state of turmoil. By the end of May I must respond to the wedding invitation of some German relatives. They had to put it off last year. I hate to disappoint the family, to risk not seeing the family elder (in her 90s), to not see a new baby (now 1.5 yrs old) plus his big sister whom I haven’t seen since 2017. But oh, nothing feels right about European travel right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, what a shemozzle. Travel involves quarantine and that on its own would put anyone off travel.
      I only travel between my place and the food shop. The café is the only break I have from domesticity and of course, dear Annette. What a fantastic discovery she is.
      Europe is struggling with so much right now. The Dutch Government have given the green light to the red lights and sex workers can again go to work.
      A sigh of relief has swept the Lowlands.

      Like

  8. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    How are you doing today, Gerard?
    Have had you on my mind this week.
    (((HUGS)))
    PATS and RUBS to MIlo!

    Like

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