Once upon a time, long ago (just two years in fact), Melbourne was ranked as the most liveable city in the world. Today, that has been replaced with our new status of being the most locked down city in the world!
Under our Public Health State of Emergency (originally put in place in March 2021) the State’s Chief Health Officer can issue orders for quarantine and community restrictions. These are implemented by our State Premier (for my American friends this is a role roughly equivalent to a State Governor). Having a very conservative Chief Health Officer and an inflexible and insensitive State Premier, we have now been locked down for 246 days and we are sick of it.
What annoys me the most, is that this Premier, Dan Andrews, has had a style that is badgering, haranguing and bullying. His daily news events drone on repetitively with little positive to offer. Unlike him, great leaders motivate people to engage in behaviour that gets results and they communicate a clear path forward. Until the community forced him to publish a road map out of this mess, his messages were gloomy and with little inspiration or empathy. Melbournians felt as though there was little hope.
That has changed somewhat since the government announced a ‘road map’ out of this lockdown. Our lives will return to normal, according to the percentage of people in the community who are double vaccinated. Currently, 52% of Victorians are double vaxxed and 82% have had one shot. When 70% are double vaxxed, the lockdown will mostly be lifted and at 80%, our lives will be almost back to normal again. We expect to reach 70% by the end of October and 80% by the end of November. Until then, we just stay at home. With a bit of luck, the public will retain their goodwill towards being locked down until these thresholds are achieved. Judging by the behaviour that I see by many people in the community, it will be a close call.
One of the things that we can now do now after 80% of the population have had at least one vaccination is to meet up with family and friends (no more than five people at a time) in parks and outdoor locations. As a result, our parks are packed with small groups picnicking and meeting with others. There are little groups of people clustered all over the place. We have also had our travel limits increased from 5 km to 15 kms.
That increased travel distance allowed us to spend time in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens with our grand daughters yesterday. It was the first time that had seen them in a good couple of months. We bought a gourmet hamper from the cafe and we found a spot with a couple of seats where we could enjoy a lovely brunch together. It was such a good time!
The police were expecting another anti-vaccination protest nearby and as were leaving the Botanical Gardens we could see that a large force had been deployed to protect the Shrine of Remembrance. Fortunately they repelled any demonstrators from desecrating this building once again and the police arrested large numbers in nearby parkland. I don’t deny anyone the right to protest but these anti-vaxxers, are not only breaking the current health regulations with their protests, they are putting the larger community at risk with their selfish and destructive behaviour. It’s a pity that they find Facebook and Twitter to be such a ‘reliable’ source of vaccine advice. Well done VicPol for your crowd control and arrests.
Again today, Jill and I, on the spur of the moment, bought a take away lunch from our local cafe and went down to our local park for an impromptu picnic. Parking spots were hard to find but we did manage to snag one at the very end of the roadway. It was just as well that we had taken our picnic chairs and table as the park was again very popular.
Little activities like these keep us sane and prevent us from going crazy in the confinement of the four walls of our house. We might sometimes be bending the Chief Health Officer’s orders a little but we are not overtly breaking them. Daylight saving began this morning so the extra hour of daylight in the evenings will also let us enjoy some evening meals and a glass of wine in the park too.