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13 May 2020
Is the end in sight? Maybe, maybe not just yet!
That seems to be a general message sifting through our communities as the State Government takes a tentative first step in easing COVID-19 restrictions.
The move forward, as minimal as it might seem to many, comes as welcome relief for a society that amid the fear and threat of the virus, has, as one person put it, ‘simply had enough’.
The truth is we have a fair way to go to declare victory over this pandemic, but some of this week’s changes promise to reinvigorate important elements of regional life missing during the lockdown.
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Importantly, in our part of the world at least, we have renewed opportunity to soak up some of the features and freedoms we might have historically taken for granted.
As long as we continue to observe social-distancing and hygiene rules we can again, at last, enjoy our great outdoors.
We can go fishing again. And even for people who haven’t been fishing for years or since they were children, this activity, with all the tangled lines, smelly worms and a frustratingly lack of fish on the bite, suddenly seems like a great idea.
Boating, hiking, visiting the Grampians or Mt Arapiles and other parkland or simply going for a drive – we can do this in the confines of a day’s outing without needing to stay overnight and break any rules – because it is available on our own doorstep.
Added to this is the relief in sight for mums, dads and carers who, in trying to keep children occupied and studying, have desperately looked for a return of classroom learning.
In this time of crisis, it is important to celebrate little victories while at the same time acknowledge that we must continue to be patient, consider the bigger picture and act responsibly.
Have we had it tough? You bet we have and the wounds to society will remain open and in need of constant treatment deep into the foreseeable future.
But in living in the Wimmera, southern Mallee, Grampians and other regional areas, we have obvious advantages and opportunities.
We can groan, go crook about the lack of all sorts of services and perceived regular neglect by our leaders in Spring Street.
But the reality is we live in a great part of the country.
When we feel like the world is closing in on us, which has regularly happened to many of late, and perhaps feel a need to thumb our nose at restrictions, consider for a moment the experience of others around the globe.
The virus has killed tens of thousands of people and as a result crippled once-vibrant communities.
These are communities that would now envy our position.
Horsham mayor Mark Radford put much of this into perspective in revealing circumstances surrounding extended family living in France.
He said family members, for many months, had been allowed to leave their house for only one hour a day.
When they went anywhere they were subsequently checked regularly for details about where they lived and the time they left their house.
We have only briefly tasted this type of environment and want to avoid going anywhere near it again.
Let’s enjoy our renewed freedoms over this ‘bug’, albeit as gradual as they are, but let’s continue to tread carefully.
The entire May 13, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!