Two men and a goat walk into a bar.
It may sound like the beginning of a bad joke but that was Farhan Saeed’s Freedom Day.
After 106 days, almost 63,000 cases and nearly 440 deaths, stay-at-home orders were lifted and a raft of restrictions eased across NSW on Monday.
And like many Sydneysiders, Mr Saeed’s seven-week old goat Gemma was dying for some human interaction.
So he took her to the pub.
Two men and a goat walk into a bar. It may sound like the beginning of a bad joke but that was Farhan Saeed’s Freedom Day
Like many Sydneysiders, Mr Saeed’s seven-week old goat Gemma was dying for some human interaction
‘The last few months have been really hard and it was definitely something to just get out there and have a drink with mates,’ he told AAP.
Sadly for the 29-year-old, his friends have been more excited to see the kid than him.
‘It made people really happy.
‘People love Gemma and Gemma loves people.
‘She does these tricks; whenever there’s a lot of people around, she’ll jump on all fours to show that she’s happy too.’
The joke is on Gemma though. While she hogged all the attention on Monday, Mr Saeed got to hog all the drinks.
‘We have to tell people, like, ‘No, she can’t have beer’. We make sure everyone knows she only drinks milk,” Mr Saeed said.
The baby goat has been quite the hit while out on walks in Newtown during lockdown.
Farhan Saeed and his baby goat Gemma are seen at the Mountain Goat bar in Newtown
‘People would say things like, this is the best thing that has happened to me in lockdown,” Mr Saeed said.
‘The other day someone who I didn’t know, they just shouted out from their car ‘Gemmaaaaaaaaaa’. That’s unreal.”
Newcastle hairdresser Alana Williamson has also been wildly popular this week.
But for her it’s been a “mixed bag of emotions”.
The elation of being back at work was tinged with frustration over rules which limit salons to five customers at a time, regardless of size, something she calls perplexing given gym classes can have 20.
‘We can usually do 60 clients a day but at the moment we can only do 1 the co-owner of Shag Hair told AAP.
But the joy of seeing her staff and clients again outweighed any negatives.
‘We see our clients sometimes more than our friends … we missed them!’ she said.
‘I’ve been nearly in tears all week because everyone has just been so accommodating and appreciative.’
Sydneysiders spilled out of pubs as they gathered for a beverage or two together
Sydneysiders enjoy their long-awaited Freedom Friday at a Sydney bar as they have drinks with their loved ones
It’s been an emotional affair for many clients too.
“It has been such an overwhelming experience for them,” she said.
“The confidence of the hair is huge for women. It’s the old saying, ‘the crown that you can’t take off’.”
There were no tears for Therese Johanson though – “just smiles and happiness” – as she was reunited with her 94-year-old mother for the first time in more than 100 days.
“It was actually a nice surprise because she’d forgotten that I was coming,” she said.
Friends chatted at a table and enjoyed their newfound freedom after work for the first Friday knock-off drinks in more than three months
“She was very pleased to see me.”
Her mother was also very excited to see the book Ms Johanson bought with her.
The last one, a library borrowing left before lockdown began, was well overdue and likely read several times over, she said.
The visit was a little bittersweet, with social distancing rules meaning a hug or a kiss were still off the table with no indication of when they may be allowed.
“Nobody can answer that question yet,” she said.
“But I was just pleased to be with her.”