Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

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It was surreal. It was festive. It was a little bit of history in Canberra’s COVID lockdown journey. When the clock ticked past midnight to Friday and some lockdown restrictions were adjusted, it was almost certainly the first group of Canberrans to return for in-house dining at their favorite restaurant and cafe WAS IN THE HOUSE. Public servant Krishna Shukla won a dinner competition with a group of her friends at Grease Monkey in Braddon at a midnight party when October 15 came around and cafes and restaurants were allowed to welcome customers for in-house dining. She was thrilled to be back with her friends, counting not only this recent lockdown, but heartache, anxiety and disruption caused by COVID since March 2020 as factors affecting many Canberrans. The dinner was a chance to reflect and be grateful to be out on the other side. “It’s going well. We made a couple of bowls because we all feel so blessed. We feel so lucky because we’re the first to go out and welcome in relaxed restrictions,” Krishna said about an hour inside the celebration. “It’s just a good time to enjoy dinner and reflect. So many of us have lost loved ones in lockdown, and some of us have not met our families in more than a year. And having this with all your friends is just a blessing.” Krishna, a public servant working in Parliament House, a Miss World ACT representative and an active volunteer in the Canberra community, said it was strange to be out eating in a deserted Lonsdale Street – a situation that should be very different as Friday unfolded and restaurants and cafes reopened properly. She and her peers had the place to themselves as part of the competition, staff, happy to be back by serving the customers in the house and waiting for all their needs. “We are completely alone, the streets are empty. It is a table covered with a candle and we are enjoying some great music,” she said. “And we eight have five or six employees. It’s such a unique experience. I come to Grease Monkey all the time, I’m regular, but had never imagined I would have this experience, a candlelit dinner in mine.” We’re all just so grateful and I could never have imagined it would happen to me otherwise. “Krishna said she had kept as busy as she could during the lockdown.” I have worked from home and it has just been a case of trying to stay healthy, keeping in touch with friends and family. So many things have been postponed or canceled. “I’ve been volunteering myself in the lockdown with Helping Hands, helping pack food and that sort of thing in my spare time. So that was good.” And there were a few more things she was looking forward to when the restrictions were lifted. MORE COVID-19 NEWS: “I’ve already booked for my workouts. Probably needed after eating so much free Grease Monkey. So straight to the gym. And looking forward to life being normal again. Being with family and friends and look after your mental health and go back to work. Just life as usual. It’s just so exciting to experience it. “From Friday, licensed venues, cafes, restaurants and dishes are allowed: Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT and lockdown is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, you can subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our regular newsletter. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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