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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or somewhere isolated where there’s no media or internet, you would know that many of we Australians are living in lockdown. It’s the subject on everyone’s lips and it’s in our faces 24/7.
It’s a lonely, isolating and sad existence of being confined to one’s home. There’s absolutely no need to dress up, wash your hair or put on makeup, because we’re not going out of our homes. All we have to look forward to is short bouts of outdoor exercise on a daily basis, Zoom meetings, FaceTiming loved ones, home-schooling, getting excited about an outing to go food shopping and maybe a takeaway coffee and occasional takeout meal.
As a whole our country has been reasonably unscathed by the Corona virus, compared to other countries in the world. We blocked our international borders from the early onset of the disease, and I believe that this prevented it from running rampant throughout Australia.
However, due to mismanagement by our government in handling quarantining arrangements, and the slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, the virus has been spreading through some of our major cities. At present the two cities that are the mostly affected are Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne has now endured six lockdowns and are now in excess of 200 days of lockdown, implemented inconsecutively. Whereas Sydney are now up to their eleventh week of living in lockdown, with a further extension to the end of September 2021.
Other major cities have endured short and sharp lockdowns as soon as there has been a hint of the virus. These snap lockdowns seem to have worked well for Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. They are doing extremely well keeping the number of cases down.
Although lockdown restrictions vary from state to state in Australia, it means for most that we’re not allowed to leave our homes unless it is for an essential excuse. At present in New South Wales we can only leave home for daily exercise, shopping for food or essential items, caring for a family member, medical treatments and appointments, or essential work.
The problem is that the definition of essential work has been confusing. So if you work in a liquor retail shop, hardware store or plant nursery you are allowed to work, however if you work in a clothing retail shop you can’t work. Hairdressers, beauty therapists, restaurants, cafes, department stores are all on a long list of disallowed services. So big hardware stores like Bunnings are allowed to operate but the little clothing boutique is not. It’s such a contentious issue.
My daughter can go to work because she is a doctor, but my son can’t go to work because he is an electrical contractor. He is not deemed essential unless he is attending an emergency electrical breakdown. The impact that these lockdowns are having on small businesses and people’s livelihoods is extremely serious. Plus the handouts the government are giving to people who can’t go to work are barely covering mortgages and rents!
People in lockdown are home-schooling their children because schools are closed. Families and loved ones are feeling the heartache of not seeing one another. People are not getting much needed medical treatments or surgery. We can’t make any plans to travel because we have no idea when we’ll be able to again.
In my part of New South Wales, living near the border to Queensland, we have been locked out of the sunshine state. Even people that are employed in essential jobs, like in medical care and hospitals, aren’t allowed to cross the border to go to work. The situation has reached a critical stage and people that live near the border are hurting badly.
All these restrictions are taking a toll on people’s mental health and causing financial ruin for some. You only need to spend some time on social media to see the anger and confusion that people are experiencing in my region. There have been several protests, blockades on the M1 highway, people writing furiously to their local Members of Parliament and signing of petitions. All of this to no avail. Common sense does not prevail when it comes to two very stubborn state leaders that are on a different agenda, (maybe even on a different planet!)
Believe it or not, I feel like one of the lucky ones really because I don’t depend on a job to make a living. Also lockdowns in my LGA have been for four weeks at the most at present because we’ve had zero Covid-19 cases. I’ve also been able to get my first Covid-19 vaccine without having to wait weeks or months for this to happen. In other areas of Australia the vaccine has not been readily available.
Each day I’m able to sleep in, which is a blessing on these cool mornings. There’s no rush to go anywhere. Usually I wake up and enjoy two cups of tea and then set off for a walk either to the beach or the creek nearby. I can grab a takeaway coffee to enjoy and even sit for a while near the beach. Usually, because I live in such a small town, I find someone I know to have a short conversation with, so I’m not completely socially isolated.
I think it’s important to try to carry on your life as per normal with certain alterations. So instead of going to my Yoga class I can now do it via a Youtube class. I can FaceTime my kids and grandkids and even though this isn’t anywhere near a substitute for face to face contact, it is something. My watercolour art classes that I once attended are now carried out by Zoom.
Other things I’ve done to pass the time is join a book club Facebook group so that I can discuss books that I’m reading. Plus I get great recommendations for new reading material. I have an eReader so I’m able to download as many books as I like.
But here are some more suggestions for filling in your time in lockdown:
It is the million dollar question. What will life look like after lockdown? Will we ever feel safe to go to a major shopping centre again, a movie cinema, a large sporting event or concert, or even travel again? I think life as we knew it will look entirely different.
Mask wearing in public and continuing Qcode checkins may be a fact of life. There’s even talk about Covid-19 vaccine passports where vaccinated people will have certain liberties as opposed to non-vaccinated people. Whether you believe that this is just or not, it may be the reality of our future life.
Two of Australia’s major airlines have come out advising that passengers on flights will need proof of vaccination in order to travel. There is even talk of restaurants, sports venues and tourist attractions implementing a similar system. Like it or not, this is going to be a whole new world where we have to live with this terrible virus.
The sad thing about Corona virus is that it has divided our country in many ways. People’s pro-choice to either be vaccinated or not is causing a lot of angst in our society. States are refusing to open their borders to other states because they have cases of Covid-19 and some are even insisting on zero cases before they will open up.
Queensland are allowing footballers and their families into the state, when they’re denying other people entry. Even their own residents! There have been many situations where there have been families separated by the state borders that have been unable to visit dying family members or attend their funerals. It really is a sad state of affairs and completely illogical.
All I know is that I want to see my two children and two grandchildren again in person and give them the biggest hugs. I don’t care if the rest of the population want to argue and fight. This is the most important thing that I’m looking forward to once we’re out of lockdown!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.