We are all in this together, COVID-19 in Victoria
111 days of lockdown in Metro Melbourne
Victorians living in the Melbourne CBD and the metro area were under 111 days of lockdown starting 9th July until and including 27th October until 23:59. Apparently this was the longest lockdown for any country worldwide. Although living through this was at times stressful and worrying, I have learnt a lot about myself and have developed more compassion and thought for others.
2020 has been a year unlike, unimagined and unforgiving for so many. Here in Melbourne, as a result of the second wave, Stage 3 was introduced from 23:59 on Wednesday 8th July then Stage 4 from 6pm on 2nd August. For the next 6 weeks there was a strict lockdown including the closure of playgrounds and schools and just the one hour permitted of daily exercise.
Although Stage 4 was extended for another 2 weeks until 23:59 on 27th September, thankfully from Sunday 13th September from 23:59 playgrounds would be open. In addition to this, Melburnians would be allowed out to exercise twice a day for up to 2 hours. Social bubbles would also allowed for those living alone. Also we were allowed to meet outside with up to 5 people from 2 different households which meant we could start to socialise again, a huge relief for me. Religious gatherings outside with 5 people plus a faith leader was permitted and hospitals were allowing visitors. Instead of the curfew starting at 8pm, it would begin at 9pm. Also childcare centres would open for non-key workers and there would be the gradual return to school for students. More people were allowed back at work and dentists could have face to face appointments.
Loosening of restrictions
Then from 18th October at 23:59 there were further restrictions lifted which meant we started to live a more ‘normal’ life with:
-No time limit on leaving your home for exercising or socialising outdoors
-The travel distance expanded from 5 km to 25km for exercise and shopping
-Outdoor gatherings increased to 10 people from 2 households
-Tennis courts, skate parks, golf courses and hairdressers open subject to COVID safe restrictions
-Real Estate auctions with max 10 people was allowed
-Outdoor pools can have 30 swimmers. Indoor pools can open for 1-on-1 hydrotherapy with a health professional
-Subject to conditions, non-essential outdoor maintenance, repairs and renovations and painting with a max of 5 workers
-Solo/automated car washing and pool cleaning plus mobile home business pet grooming and outdoor photography allowed
Melbourne CBD in semi lockdown
It was a huge relief to be able to go further than 5 kilometres. I enjoy and love our neighbourhood but with 3 months exploring the same streets, paths and playgrounds, I had begun to feel rather confined. So on the Saturday, 24th October I headed into Melbourne CBD, pictures below. With so many cafes and restaurants closed, the lack of people and customers, arcades shut, it felt and looked like a ghost town. It was so eerily quiet that my first thought was how similar it was to the film, ‘I Am Legend’ starring Will Smith. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Will Smith is one of the few survivors from a deadly virus living in New York City which is virtually empty apart from those infected living in the dark derelict buildings.
Daniel Andrews made further announcements a few days later, on 26th October to the delight of many that from 27th October at 23:59, cafes, pubs and retails were to open subject to COVID-safe conditions (including 20 customers inside and 50 outside the venue). Monday 26th October was also a good day as it was the first day of 0 cases and 0 deaths, since 9th June. More details about these announcements made on 26th October can be read on Broadsheet.com.
A new ‘normal’
From the 28th October life has been slowly returning to a ‘new normal’ especially as the four reasons to leave home no longer apply and helped by knowing the easing of more restrictions were to come from 23:59 on 8th November.
On Sunday 8th November, Daniel Andrews announced more easing of restrictions that would come into effect as of 2359 that night. Details about this are described on the Coronavirus website about the Reopening Road Map, the Third Step.
The rolling averages to the 7th November is 0.4 cases in Metro Melbourne and 0 in regional Victoria. The live update is here on the ABC site.
– The 25km travel limit no longer applies
-The regional Victoria border is removed
-We can now go on holiday in Victoria and book accommodation plus go camping. And we can share that accommodation with immediate family (who you live with) as well as up to two other people and their dependents which means we can start socialising and connecting with other people
-We still need to wear face masks when leaving home
-We can have up to two people visit you at home each day
-Hospitality will be able to increase its capacity and more people will also be able to attend faith gatherings and funerals
-Now indoor exercise, including gyms and indoor pools are open with limits on the number of people depending on the space
-Libraries, cinemas and museums will open subject to a cap on numbers
The State of Disaster will not be renewed which is fantastic news and indicates the situation is improving. However the State of Emergency will be extended until the 6th December. Full details about the Third Step of reopening is here.
Stay safe, stay open
On the 22nd November, there will be further restrictions lifted, effective from 23rd November. There will be an increase the number of people allowed at private gatherings, more capacity at hospitality venues as well as sporting events, gyms, weddings, funerals, theatres, cinemas, libraries, gaming machines. I look forward to enjoying a new ‘COVID normal.’
In the meantime, the message is “Stay safe in order to stay open.”
During these difficult times, I hope we all can continue to be more empathetic and look out for our friends, neighbours and those that are strangers. After all, we are all in this together.
Wines and beers to enjoy as we ease out of lockdown in Melbourne
During lockdown I have tried different a range of wines and beers on weekends and on a budget. I’d like to raise a glass to all heath care workers, supermarket workers and everyone doing their part to help stop the spread. ALDI has some good value rosé wines under $12 and Hop Heads in Altona often has 50% off a selection of tasty craft beers. These are highlighted below:
- Bodega Piedra Negra Pinot Gris 2020 (Uco Valley in Mendoza Argentina)
- Hermanos Lurton Valentin Rosé 2019 (Castilla y León in Spain)
- Réserve de la Famille Drouet Cabernet Franc Rosé 2019 (Loire Valley in France)
- Mountain DDH Hazy IPS
- San Diego Cali Baby Mango
- San Diego Cali The Mango Beer
- North Brewing Co
- Boatrocker Miss Pinky Raspberry Berliner Weisse
- Two Birds Dolly Sour
- Raspberry Smash NITRO Sour Beer – Limited Edition
- Frau Gruber Canned Heat Session Pale Ale at 2.9% – really good at such low abv
- Ale Farm Union & Hyde IPA and Ale Farm Mornings on Mission Bay IPA
- Anderson Valley Cherry Gose
- Boatrocker Big Love Hazy IPA