COVID19 – Stay at home, Self Isolate, no gatherings, and no holidays

Normal everyday life changes

Its hard to believe how quickly COVID-19 came into our lives and caused disruption. We thought it was strange that the Box Hill Chinese New Year due to be held on Saturday 1 February was cancelled. It is a local festival that we have attended over the years. There was no reason given for its cancellation ( in English there was no mention of COVID-19 – however the Chinese version did!) nor was there anything about COVID-19 in mainstream media. At this point we started watching more international news and picked up that there was a problem in China but never thought it would be a problem in Australia at any point soon. We saw scenes of hazmat suits walking the streets of China spraying disinfectant, officials boarding up doors to apartments, trapped residents crying to be let out, and Dr’s and Nurses having melt downs caused by the sheer number of ill people.

With travellers flying and cruising in and out of Australia from all over the world the virus was able to take its hold. Once it became apparent that the whole world was impacted by this virus it was taken more seriously by the majority of the Australian population. Its high infection rate saw people stranded on cruise ships and having to be quarantined for 14 days either on the ship or in hotels. Travellers were warned to come back to Australia as soon as possible. The government brought in strict rules Australia wide to limit gatherings, social distancing of 1.5 metres and only essential travel to get food, go to the doctors, or to the pharmacy.

On a personal note…

As time has gone on and everything has evolved so quickly it at first seemed like we were stuck in some sort of bad nightmare. However every morning when I woke up the reality was that COVID-19 was making a huge impact on a global scale. My health has been pretty good but my concerns were with elderly parents with respiratory issues, a niece with lupus, and the seemingly randomness of how the virus affects different people.

Art Opening at Box Hill Community Arts Centre

Opening night on the 5th March 2020 with my lovely art friends. It was the last time I was in a group situation!
Opening night on the 5th March 2020 with my lovely art friends. It was the last time I was in a group situation!

On the 2nd March I helped set up an exhibition with my group of Art friends at Box Hill Community Arts Centre. The opening was held on the 5th March with a great turnout. There was a touch of social distancing however still at this time it was not considered a massive problem. We were meant to pack up the exhibition at the end of March however just before this time the centre was closed to the public and our artwork still on the gallery walls in lockdown. We will be able to get them when the centre opens again – whenever that may be!

Move to study online

While I have been working from home for the last 20 years ( and continue to work) on my website business “Solutions Indata” I decided I wanted to get out and try something else as well. Part of this was to get out into the community and socialise. An advertisement for a  Certificate IV Leisure & Health came up in the local newspaper. It was half way through last year and was meant to finish the middle of 2020. Up until 20 March this year we had weekly classes and then due to new restrictions placed by the government because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we were to now go online to finish the course using “Zoom”.

20/03/2020 – Turned up to class and in different room with tables spaced out, disinfect spray and paper towels. Social distancing practiced with the group along with wiping down the communal laptops and mouses. The class felt very different and not as happy and cosy as normal. I am a bit of a germ freak so was very happy when it was announced we were going online using ZOOM for our classes.

Work placement paused.

Part of this course is a 120 hour work placement. I had chosen a specialist aged care home called Opal Aged care. I had completed 2 shifts – both with all the necessary health dept procedures.

Hand sanitiser station on the only door into the Aged Care centre
Hand sanitiser station on the only door into the Aged Care centre.

There was a hand sanitiser and notices at the main entrance. Social distancing was practiced with all the residents.

My placement had to be paused because of the tough restrictions with even the residents own family unable to have visitors.

While the study part of my course will be able to be finished, not sure what is going to happen with the work placement at this stage.

Toilet paper, rice and pasta

It was a shock to go to the supermarket and do our normal shopping and see a completely empty shelves where toilet paper was meant to be. The government had told everyone to buy 2 weeks worth of supplies so thats what we did. We were still able to get rice and pasta early on. The rush of people panic buying was apparent. Over a few weeks missed out on getting toilet paper every time I went to the supermarket. Things eventually settled down and we managed to get a couple of packets.


Understanding what necessary travel and social distancing means

While there was talk of the government being clear I think under the circumstances they did well trying to get the message out to “stay at home and avoid gatherings”.

25/03/20 – Department of Health and Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia

The most important message for all Victorians is to stay at home and avoid all gatherings of people. This minimises the chances of transmission, protects the health system and saves lives. If you are with other people, you must observe the rule of 1 person for every 4 square metres to ensure a safe physical distance. If you are in doubt about whether you should go out, go to the shops, take public transport, or let your children go on a play date – the simple answer is don’t.  ”

Outdoor recreation

The following facilities must close, except where the accommodation is for the purposes of respite, for victims of family violence, other vulnerable groups or for care purposes.
This includes: caravan and camping parks, except where people live there permanently or as an interim abode where the primary residence is not available.

“Social distancing will save lives. “Everyone needs to comply with restrictions in place to keep yourself, your loved ones and the whole community safe.
“We urge everyone to stay 1.5 metres away from everyone else, wash your hands often with soap and water and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.”

1st Birthday party cancelled.

With gatherings not being able to be held the planned 1st Birthday party for our grandson was cancelled. He had a great day with his mum and dad and was thoroughly spoilt. We had a video chat and sang him happy birthday and he then attempted to blow out the candles. This is going to be the new norm for both him and us to catch up regularly via video for the next 6 months.

Communicating with my family
The new way of communicating with family members. Filters optional!

Easter Holidays at home

10th April – 14th April.
We were planning on going camping to Koondrook for Easter and catching up with our friends.

The restrictions in place meant a weekend spent at home – without seeing any extended family.  Just Dave and I.

Instead we will be doing a bit of gardening, cooking, eating, drinking, watching movies, and odd jobs around the house.

Each state in Australia has implemented different gathering rulings, and fines for not following them. Some states have shut their borders with Police handing out fines to people without good excuses.

There seems to be some people that don’t see the harm in jumping in their car and going for a drive, or even holiday over the Easter break.

When and where is our next holiday going to be?

It’s a weird feeling not knowing what the future holds. What is it going to be like in 6 months time? Are we still going to be socially restricted? Until a vaccine or more is known about COVID-19 we are going to have to continue sticking to ourselves, washing hands and avoiding gathering.

We don’t even know if we are going to be able to go camping towards the end of year. I think we will start with a list of places we might like to go, and then once everything is back to normal ring up and make some bookings. Might be a while before we take the Jayco Jpod out again!

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