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21 July 2021
The entire July 21, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
By DEAN LAWSON
West Wimmera mayor Bruce Meyer has urged communities on the Victorian-South Australian border to be patient and positive as they bear an abrasive edge of an extended lockdown.
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Cr Meyer said staying positive was the main message for people trying to navigate daily life amid cross-border complications.
His plea, also echoing leadership sentiment across the broader region, came as the Victorian government extended the latest COVID-19 statewide lockdown until July 27 and tightened restrictions on interstate travel.
South Australia also went into lockdown from 6pm last night.
COVID-19 identification at Mildura is part of heightened Victorian regional and border concerns.
It and other virus contact points across the region have limited opportunities for authorities to separate regional and metropolitan Victoria through a previous ‘ring-of-steel’ system.
A third of primary contacts for the virus are in regional Victoria.
A Victorian-South Australian community ‘travel bubble’, in contracting from 70 to 40 kilometres and with a broader lockdown scenario, is set to amplify pressure on communities that regularly access services on either side of the border.
West Wimmera Shire towns Kaniva and Edenhope are inside the bubble but others, such as Harrow and Goroke and other small settlements, are outside.
“We’re getting a similar situation over and over again, being seriously inconvenienced and can’t help but feel like we’re taking the brunt for others’ mistakes. But all we can try to do is stay as positive as we can,” Cr Meyer said.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, although the tunnel seems to get longer and the light dimmer at stages.
“But I believe there are plenty of other situations that are many times worse off than we are.”
“Sure, it’s been a big handicap on social activities such as sport, but we have found ways to conduct our essential business and haven’t let the border issues beat us. We have been very resilient so far and found a way to overcome what have been significant handicaps,” Cr Meyer said.
He said it was important people who could get vaccinated did so as soon as possible.
He also stressed a need for the community to be aware of a need to stay occupied and mentally healthy.
“This is very important. If you can’t work, or feel socially isolated, concentrate on your personal interests, hobbies or whatever else you can do, but stay engaged and keep your mind occupied,” he said.
Cr Meyer said people could look forward to renewed vibrancy across the shire when circumstances returned to some sense of normality.
“We must believe that this won’t last forever and look forward to a recovery,” he said.
“We have been given State Government money to run events when we get the all clear. There are some wonderful events and activities to look forward to.
“Let’s all hope these events are a wonderful success, such as the recent Melbourne Cup visit and event at Kaniva. If they all work out like that it will be wonderful.”
Under Victorian restrictions in place people cannot leave their homes other than for one of the five following reasons:
• Shopping for necessary goods and services.
• Care and caregiving, including medical care, or to get a COVID-19 test.
• Authorised work and permitted study.
• To get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Victorians can also leave home to visit their intimate partner, their single ‘social bubble buddy’, or in an emergency – including family violence.
They must stay within five kilometres of their homes for shopping and exercise. This limit does not apply to work, when giving or receiving care, getting a COVID-19 vaccination or visiting an intimate partner or a single social bubble buddy.
Everyone must wear face masks indoors and outdoors whenever leaving their homes. Face masks do not need to be worn indoors or outdoors if people are working alone unless another person enters that indoor or outdoor space.
Full restriction details are available online at coronavirus.vic.gov.au.