Enduring Melbourne’s second lockdown without family

More panic buying in store.

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Melbourne’s second lockdown is proving to be much harsher than the first. With a strict 8 pm to 5 am curfew, this time around, more retail services like Kmart and Bunnings have resorted to trading online and have closed their doors to the public. With 5-kilometre-radius restrictions in place, movement is tight as well.

Naynika and Schenell are roommates who live in Southbank, in Melbourne’s inner-urban neighbourhood. While the area has not been labelled a hotspot, the effects of the second lockdown are weighing down on them.

“We tasted a little bit of freedom that’s why it’s worse. We were allowed to go back to what was the old normal for us until it all got taken away, and it’s frustrating,” Naynika explained.

Schenell completed her postgraduate degree in Sports Management and was even hired to be a footie team manager but because of the first and second lockdowns her industry has “taken a back seat”.

Naynika, a marketing professional, also mentions how tough it is to find work during these times.

“The lockdown is causing most companies to put a halt on their hiring process. It’s getting difficult to go for an interview as well. It’s a really tough time right now which is definitely taking a toll on me.”

READ ALSO: Locked down again in Stage 3 restrictions

Melbourne second lockdown
Melbourne will be locked down until mid-September

Naynika had plans to return to India in July after completing her final semester, but the trip was evidently cancelled.

“I miss just being able to get out without having to worry about where I’m going or what am I touching. Really basic stuff. I miss being able to meet my friends and go out for brunch.”

A little further in Wyndham Vale, southwest of the CBD, is where Insiyaah lives and works as a school counsellor. The suburb is currently under stage 4 lockdown and has around 766 active cases.

Unfortunately, the second lockdown has led to panic buying again. This time it’s not toilet paper but meat and milk. Insiyaah is concerned that many stocks may be empty when she needs to buy groceries.

She added that a friend of hers in Footscray ordered groceries online and only received chocolates. They had placed orders for milk, meat and vegetables, but nothing was sent because they were all out of stock last week.

Still, Insiyaah sees an upside to the regulations and expresses her faith in the Victorian Premier.

“I’m happy with the new restrictions as hopefully this way we are able to lower our numbers. I want people to actually listen to the new restrictions and to stay home especially if they’ve tested positive or are symptomatic so this lockdown won’t have to extend. Dan Andrews is trying his best.”

Wyndham Vale now looks like a ghost town with everyone back in isolation.

The three women expressed a longing for kinship because their families live in India. Having flatmates has made the lockdown more bearable for them and kept their mental health in check.

“My support system is my flatmate, my coworkers and friends from back home. I have weekly zoom check-ins with everyone to make sure we’re all coping well,” Insiyaah remarked.

The announcement of Melbourne’s first nightly curfew and the second lockdown was made on Sunday and will be imposed for another 6 weeks.

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Bageshri Savyasachi
Bageshri Savyasachi
Truth-telling, tree-hugging journalist.

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