Thursday, October 29, 2020

We are free

 At their harshest our lockdown laws prevented us from visiting anyone, travelling more than five kilometres and then only for medical, personal care, food or exercise. Otherwise, we must stay at home. This has now changed to 25 km and you can leave home for any reason.

All retail shops were closed aside from essential shops. Supermarkets, liquour outlets, newsagents, pharmacies and some food outlets were pretty well all that were open.

All cafe food was takeaway or home delivery. 

Delivery people could not enter our building. 

Only two people were allowed in the lift at one time unless from the same apartment.

Outside your front door you had to wear a mask, unless you had a medical exemption or were jogging or cycling. This is still the case.

Almost all office buildings were closed and if people could work from home, they must work from home. Also still in force.

If you had any symptoms at all of a cold, you must get COVID tested and self isolate at home until you received your test result. If you were a household or close contact of someone with COVID, you must get tested and isolate until you receive a result. Hundreds of thousands did, maybe even over one million. This was very harsh on some people and there were government payments to those who needed it. To encourage people who may have had symptoms but thought they couldn't afford to take time off work, there were also payments for them.

For the mental sanity of those who lived alone, they could form a bubble with someone who they could visit, as long as they were within the five kilometre limit.

Federal social security for those without jobs or who couldn't work was increased substantially from an absurdly low payment for the unemployed. Almost everyone agreed even before COVID, the unemployment benefit was very much too low.

There are probably other rules that don't jump to my mind. These were harsh rules and very hard on many people's mental health. Fines for rule breaches varied from $1500 to $5000 and although only something like 5% of those fined have paid, the normal government fine process will proceed.

Less than two weeks ago our hairdressers reopened. 

But after a slight delay because of an outbreak, this Wednesday retail fully opened and we could once again sit down at a cafe to have a meal and you could go to a pub for drink or food. There are still strict distance and number of patron rules in place but how good is that. 

I think in June, midwinter for us, we had an explosion of COVID cases in my state to over 700 new cases on one day at least and that was when we were harshly locked down. After a week of single digit new infections, on Sunday for the first time since March, we had zero new cases and again Monday zero cases. Sadly Tuesday was two cases but it is fairly clear it is well under control and contact tracing is now first class. 

We've been wanting to catch up with our Hairdresser Friend for outdoor takeaway coffee for more than a week but the weather wasn't great last week. Yesterday I asked if she wanted to meet for coffee at Sandbar on the beach front, expecting to just buy take away coffee and find someone public to sit, but there were a few vacant tables on the beach deck and it was such a beautiful warm and sunny day. R and I decided to have poached eggs on toast and we drank two cups of coffee. Hmmm, maybe too much caffeine is not good for the heart. Hair Dresser friend just had one cup of coffee and no food.

You have no idea how nice it was to sit outside at the beach and have food on a plate at a table, sitting on a chair and drink proper coffee from a china cup.

There are still many restrictions in place and we won't be unmasked until at the earliest, 2021.


Australia had two quarters of negative growth, that is recession, but it is now back in the black. Our Federal and State governments have borrowed vast sums of money to prop up Australia and it will have to be repaid but the money will have been borrowed at around zero interest rate.

Of course as Ponzi schemes do, our booming economy on the back of building cheap and nasty housing on the outskirts of our cities and often poor quality shoebox city apartments fuelled by high immigration numbers has collapsed. I can't guess how this will pan out. Overseas students, maybe with a two week quarantine period, will probably return next year, bringing in the money and vitality to our cities.

I conclude with stating with strong government action to restrict what citizens do in the absence of a vaccine, COVID can be killed off. It was done in New Zealand and Australia is getting very close to doing the same. That our respective countries are islands helps with being able to close external borders except for two week quarantined returning citizens. But I can think of a small important island that has only a few countries. Why didn't the same happen there? Pain is suffered but the end result is so good.

So what does a girl do when the retail stores are open after months of being closed? She goes shopping for new shoes, and that is what I will do today. Alas at my age, sensible walking shoes and not stilies. 

42 comments:

  1. Caffeine is very bad for the old ticker. We switched to Decaff as Jack has heart problems. It just keeps me awake at night if I drink too much of it during the day.
    Our numbers are rising. Today after my ladies meeting (Socially distanced of course) I did another grocery shopping.
    I stocked up on canned vegetables and soups, and our freezer (deep chest) is full. If we go into lockdown, I am prepared.

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    1. Maribeth, nothing keeps me awake at night, but then my last cup of coffee for the day will be around 3.30. I've been looking at COVID in the US and your state is very low.

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    2. We are a small State. So, 149 new cases overnight is a big increase. Over the summer we'd gotten down to 20-30 per day. I will continue to be isolated and very careful!

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  2. I was thrilled when I saw that your restrictions had been substantially eased.
    I bet that cafe meal tasted absolutely delicious.
    And how nice to be able to meet with hairdresser friend.
    Sadly it seems that the Federal Social Security for the unemployed is going to go back to its previous dreadfully inadequate rate.

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    1. EC, please tell me you don't have the facts on the unemployment benefit? Even big business argued it was too low.

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  3. You are lucky to live in a country where those in charge are sensible grown-ups. Green with envy over here in the red-white-and-blue Land of the Free.

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    1. Cynthia, ever thought of living in Maine?

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    1. YP, you may not have know the word, but you have the context right.

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  5. Anonymous10:33 am

    I remember the first time I could go to a cafe and sit inside after everything re-opened - it was bliss!!
    Enjoy your day of retail therapy.
    Bunyip

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    1. Bunyip, Cinderella has new shoes.

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  6. I've had those pleasures as we are still in good shape due to the government that I can't praise enough. Lowest cases in the world here even though the economy is tanking.

    Continued good health my friend.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, what use is a healthy economy when everyone is dead or in hospital? NS and NB have done very well indeed.

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  7. Your freedom comes just as we face a new total lockdown. Virus going crazy here as a result of irresponsible behaviour. We can control our own behaviour, but we can't control that of the idiots.

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    1. Cro, as I have said in past it is a matter of law enforcement. Tough rules must be in place and people must respect them or otherwise face the full force of the law. We will always have idiots among us.

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  8. It’s a good feeling - as a State ‘we’ve’ come good. Number of detected cases worldwide vary according to the rate of testing but we’ve jolly well worked hard at rounding up the ones we had.
    What is hard to grasp at the moment is having to book online to be able to shop at KMart :)

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    1. Cathy, really about KMart? Is KMart so popular?

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  9. Hard work did pay off and of course there are going to be one or two cases of Covid for awhile unfortunately.
    Sounds great having coffee and you all enjoyed it.
    Trust you got your new shoes..
    Take care.

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    1. Margaret, a nice brunch with R in town and a new pair of shoes for much less than I thought I would pay.

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  10. Well done you and your fellow Melbournians for getting the numbers so low. It was hard for you all. I know my daughter was just about at the end of her tether. You forgot to mention that schools were closed and parents were juggling home schooling with working from home. Google "Here Comes the Sun, Melbourne" my son in law made a great video clip of Melbourne opening up.

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    1. Diane, yes I didn't mention about schools but I have in the past. An absolute nightmare for some. Looking forward to seeing the clip.

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  11. I agree with proper lockdowns, quarantines and contact tracing, we could soon be free entirely. it could work in Europe and England too, if borders between countries were closed, even if only for a month, but it may be too late now with some countries having a third wave and the people fed up with lockdowns. I saw Italy on the news last night.
    I'm glad you were able to get out and enjoy an open air lunch, but ease up on the coffees okay? We want you to stick around.

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    1. What a nightmare it is River in England, Europe and the US is unmentionable. One and half instant in the morning and one proper late morning and one proper later afternoon. That would be ok?

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    2. Maybe swap one of them for decaf?

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  12. Sandbar looks terrific, thank you, especially sitting on tables on the beach deck and especially on a beautiful, warm and sunny day.

    I had a delicious lunch in an outdoor restaurant yesterday (Wed), got pink on my cheeks and met people I hadn't seen since last March. YES!!!

    Of course there could be a third covid wave, one day. But hopefully we would handle it very quickly and professionally.

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    1. You haven't been there Hels? It is very pleasant if the weather is good. Pink on your cheeks from the sun or joi de vivre? I think our state now has the ability to stomp on any new outbreaks and I doubt there will be a third wave.

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  13. It must be such a relief to have things opening up again. It's interesting how Covid spikes in the winter, both there and here. As for controlling it, the UK is an island but the population is relatively dense and I think Covid simply thrives mostly on the people who are already here. The population density in New Zealand (and certainly Australia, although admittedly it's a little deceiving since there's so much empty country) is much lower than in the UK so there are fewer people to pass it around. Plus the government here has totally mismanaged it. That's my theory, anyway!

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    1. Steve, yes you are right about winter spikes. Undoubtedly population density plays a part too. My opinion is that your national government has totally mismanaged it and while not to Trump levels, not great.

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  14. I'm reading the stories about Europe, and of course watching the United States. Hopefully the worst is not yet to come.

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    1. James, I don't like to point out the obvious, but numbers are increasing. Even Vietnam is facing a second wave, a country that controlled it so well initially.

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  15. When we had the lockdown in March we had exactly the same rules ! Then slowly we were set free and could have a lunch or whatever in a restaurant, go to the cinema with one free seat between you and the next person etc. And now it starts again ! and probably we will have the second lockdown from this weekend on !Phew ! so fed up !

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    1. We too opened up after the first wave but rates quickly went out of control because of poor hotel quarantine supervision.

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  16. We need to teach public health, and convince the populus that it overrides politics and the economy.

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    1. Yes and yes Travel. I am on a learning curve, but Maine is looking like it has done things well.

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  17. We're still good in Oregon, numbers low, compared to most states. I think we might be the lowest in the country. OUr governor stated at the outset our state would follow science not politics on the virus. Yet many don't wear masks and cry like babies if a store tries to enforce a mask mandate. Its pathetic really. Like its some grave hardship. A little mask. Great work Australia!

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    1. Strayer, given what Portland is like, your state really does have good figures.

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  18. Walk On Brother Man, Walk On

    Cheers

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  19. So happy for you Andrew, it's been a tough time over there. You really do appreciate the little things after a period of strict lockdown, relax and enjoy your weekend like no one is watching 😊

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    1. Grace, two brunches out, but who is counting.

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  20. I wish the U.S. had been more stringent instead of letting folks die. Glad you are able to get out and about. Watch the coffee intake.
    Stay safe. Be healthy.

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    1. Sandra, at least some of your State Governors have been strong.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.