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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Melbourne unlocked: What’s the post-restrictions plan?

After over 100 days of strict COVID-19 lockdown, Melbournians finally get to rejoice and taste some freedom.

Reading Time: 6 minutesSome excitement about “overpriced gourmet coffee” with some caution about socialising and hygiene – here’s how Melbournians are accepting the easing of Melbourne’s restrictions at last.

 

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Jasmeet Bakshi, Solutions Manager

jasmeet bakshi melbourne

Easing of restrictions should not be taken as ‘carte blanche’. One must be wary of the inherent dangers the opening opposes. There is need to be more careful than ever. Wearing masks when going out, maintaining social distancing and good hand hygiene are even more important.

My advice would be to enjoy the freedom, but not to throw caution to the wind. Personally, I would avoid indoor closed spaces and watch out for how the situation pans out in the next couple of weeks.

 

Akhil Jhingran melbourneAkhil Jhingran, R&D Senior Chemist

Just a few weeks back, it seemed difficult that we would see the 14-day rolling average below 5, however, due to some tough but sensible measures taken by Daniel Andrews and his team of medical experts, the number of new cases has come down to zero for two consecutive days after March 2020.

I want to thank him for a job well done and staying strong amidst the opposition from anti-maskers who thought it was a breach of their freedom. He has faced the media every single day since the stage 4 lockdown and was not affected by the continuous opposition and negative comments from Liberal leader Michael O’Brien and Josh Frydenberg.

Yes, some big mistakes have been made with the hotel quarantine management but that is subject to an enquiry. What the opposition had to do was to sit down with the government officials and work out a plan to tackle the virus rather that playing the blame game.

Victorians have done a great job in abiding by the lockdown restrictions. No doubt some have suffered more than others, but we are all in it together. My sympathies are with those who have lost their loved ones and those who have suffered economically. Finally, we can all see the end to this lockdown in the near future with more restrictions being lifted.

However, it is not over yet. We still need to take care and do the right thing of wearing mask in public and social distancing as directed by the health experts. In the interim we can enjoy the newly found freedom and hope that we can catch-up with our friends and families before Christmas time.

 

Pinky Chhablani Bhatia

Pinky Chhablani Bhatia, Digital Strategy Expert

I am really looking forward to my daily over- priced gourmet coffee, making impromptu plans of mooching about in coffee shops and long walks without worrying about the distance radius from where I live; bumming around without having to explain why I’m out of my house; and most importantly, learning how to talk to human beings face-to-face rather than on a screen, and making sure I am not in my pyjamas underneath a nice fancy top!

READ MORE: How chef Nabil Ansari popularised Indian cuisine during the lockdown

Sunila ForsythSunila Forsyth, Consultant

I am cautiously optimistic. We will not rush into throwing and attending wild parties. We will avoid crowded places for a while still and continue to sanitise all things we bring into our home. The virus hasn’t gone away, it’s still around, so we will be taking time to adjust to the new COVID normal.

 

I actually feel lucky to be in Australia, and backed Dan Andrew. I was very impressed by his approach on handling this pandemic. He didn’t play politics or games, just stuck with the science.

Surit Sethi, Senior IT Manager

Surit Sethi

Combined with overwhelming relief and gratitude at getting our life back, there is also a sense of disappointment and frustration at what we have been forced to endure. I can’t help feeling it didn’t need to be this hard and that Victorians have paid a heavy price for the mistakes of a few.  We have still not been told who made the decision to appoint a private security firm to handle the hotel quarantine process and what learnings have been taken on board to prevent another similar debacle.

NSW is still refusing to open the border with Victoria because they don’t trust our contact tracing system. Why can’t we have the same system as NSW which we know has worked well? Why are our health care workers still not protected enough to not catch the infection from treating COVID patients? Time will tell but we have to hope that there are systems in place to handle any inevitable outbreaks from time to time without putting us in lockdown again. For now, it’s time to celebrate and support our small businesses and people that have been hit the hardest.

 

Bunny Bedi, Creative Director and Head Designer of Made in Earth

bunny bedi

I feel grateful, blessed and very happy that in unison, we Victorians took a step towards the achievement and hope of having a life COVID-free. Victoria came together and became victorious on the auspicious day of Dusshera, making it a real victory of light over darkness. On a personal level, I have no complaints and qualms. Yes, business suffered and there are going to be losses, however, it was a great opportunity to spend quality time with the family, which is worth its weight in gold.

It was also a realization of how much we take things for granted, hence 2020 will be remembered as a year where we learnt to appreciate all that we have! Including health – jaan hai toh jehaan hai.

I am looking forward to meeting my friends and family, traveling safety and hopefully attending some sporting and music events soon.

READ MORE: Melbourne lockdown and a state of disaster

Manisha Chaubal-Menon, Businesswoman

Manisha Chaubal-Menon melbourne

I am happy for the small business owners, as this lockdown has been stifling for so many of them. Lifting of restrictions means starting back their livelihood. I won’t be going all out to shop in a hurry though! This virus isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, so it’s imperative for Victorians to be stringent about their sanitizing habits more than ever before and continue to maintain social distance. This is the new norm and the sooner we accept it the safer it will be all. No point being rebels against this invisible enemy!

Sam Goraya, Artist

Sam Goraya

For me, lockdown has been a blessing that has given me time to stop, think, reflect and find the purpose of my existence. It has given me the courage to make those decisions that I had been procrastinating for years. Since Victoria has opened up, I am so looking forward to meeting family and friends to celebrate life in general.

These lockdowns have woken many people up to understand what’s important in life and the need to value that. It could be their family, friends, job, material, health/well-being, animals or nature. 2020 has also given people a new perspective in life and the realisation that nothing is permanent.

Peace of mind and life can be taken away from us in a flash without any notice. The planning is great but does not necessarily work every time. We need to appreciate and be grateful of our existence here in this world today.

I am feeling so positive and excited about what the future has in store for all of us.

 

Bindya Bedi, Homemaker

Bindya Bedi

The lockdown created opportunities that we had not imagined before. People from my street and I got together to create a cooking group and we shared recipes with each other online and cooked some delicious and diverse food in our individual kitchens on Saturday evenings, together. Our street made it into national news for this innovative and relationship building idea. I hope to continue that great culinary experience post COVID-19.

But cheers to the end of lockdown!
I would love to take a trip somewhere in Australia and explore the beauty, nature, and food. The most important lesson this lockdown has taught us is to enjoy each and every moment of your life. As they say famously – “Zindagi Na Milage Dobara!”

READ MORE: Enduring Melbourne’s second lockdown without family

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Preeti Jabbal
Preeti Jabbal
Preeti is the Melbourne Coordinator of Indian Link.

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