MELBURNIANS HAVE survived their first full week of Stage 4 Lockdown but there is an extremely long road ahead.
At 6pm on Sunday, August 2, a State of Disaster was declared for the state, and in metropolitan Melbourne a suite of restrictions was rolled out, beginning with more severe restrictions relating to the four legal reasons to leave your property.
The Directions at the time of publication state that until September 13, the reasons for leaving your property for exercise or shopping have been tightened.
Both exercise and shopping now must take place within five kilometres of your property.
For exercise, you may only be off your property for a maximum of one hour and you can only exercise with one other person, regardless of whether they live with you or not.
For shopping, the Directions stipulate that one person, per household, per day can leave the property for the purposes of obtaining essential goods and food, but only once — meaning you have to do all your shopping in one trip.
There is also a nightly curfew in place, and only those who have a legitimate reason (work, medical or compassionate reasons) can be off their property between 8pm and 5am.
Warranditians would have probably already noticed the impact of this night curfew with the significant reduction in traffic noise.
Over the week that followed, the Government outlined and implemented a series of reductions or closures to businesses and industries it deemed non-essential for the next six weeks.
Note, these closures principally impact businesses who cannot work from home and are designed to significantly reduce the movement of people around Melbourne, and to reduce the number of daily active cases, which had stubbornly sitting between the 400 and 700 mark for the previous week.
The Stage 4 Business Restrictions document is extensive and has been modified, slightly, over the past week to reflect the nuance of types of businesses under certain categories, such as the recent adaptation of the business restrictions to allow the collection of new and lost pets from animal shelters.
Local animal shelter, Blue Cross Animal Society of Victoria in Wonga Park expressed their joy of the change to restrictions on Facebook, on Saturday, August 8.
“Blue Cross is thrilled… new pet adoptions can continue during Stage 4 restrictions.
“This is great news Blue Cross will continue with animal adoptions by appointment only, following all Government guidelines.”
The necessity for a COVID Safe plan for those businesses who can have employees and customers on-site, plus the necessity for all employees to carry a work permit when travelling to and from work will mean that by now, every business knows if, and how, they can open.
But there are some very basic and very easy to understand restrictions in place which will serve as a baseline for any questions on what you can do and where you can go.
To reduce the number of people who are intermingling for the period of the Stage 4 restrictions, businesses which can operate on-site are limited to essential and critical services only.
For Warrandyte, this principally means Quinton’s Supa IGA, the butchers, bakers and other food and beverage vendors are currently open for business.
Trades such as plumbers, electricians, gasfitters and mechanics do have a capacity to operate but for works, which usually take place in your home (such as leaking taps, servicing your gas heater, electrical wiring, et cetera), these services are limited to emergency and critical work only.
There are a number of other businesses that can still operate but may only be offering a click and collect or home delivery service.
Check out our What’s Open guide on Page 20 for a rundown of what is open in Warrandyte.
These restrictions will have a significant impact on local gardening and housecleaning businesses who have had to shut up shop for the time being.
Jim’s Mowing owner, Jim Penman, made mainstream news at the beginning of the business restrictions when he went head-to-head, via dualling media conferences with the Premier over the prospect of Jim’s Mowing franchisees having to shut up shop.
Vehicle mechanics have also found themselves in a similar predicament, the Ultra Tune franchise has now updated its national website to reflect the situation in Victoria:
“The health and safety of our team members, customers and the community have remained our priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“All Ultra Tune Service Centres throughout Victoria remain open as permitted under the Victorian Government’s restrictions.
“Melbourne customers are under the Stage 4 restrictions and will only be allowed to shop and exercise within five kilometres of their homes.”
Remember, whenever you leave home to shop, it must be one person, per household, per day, once a day.
The State of Disaster gives authorities the legal freedom they need to enforce restrictions and there are fines in place for anyone who, without good reason, is found more than five kilometres from home, not wearing a face mask or covering, or leave their properties between 8pm and 5am.
We are a long way from living COVID-Normal and the concept of business-as-usual is bordering on ancient history.
The severity of the current restrictions is having a significant impact on our lives, but unless we all follow the letter and the spirit of these directions, things will get worse before they get better.
There are many in the community that are struggling with the isolation and uncertainty during the restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We know Victorians are resilient, but we have never faced a crisis quite like this one and I know there are a lot of people out there doing it tough right now.
“We want them to know that they are not alone.”
Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley told the media that there has been an increase of people presenting at Hospital Emergency Departments following episodes of self-harm.
Therefore, to ease the burden on hospitals, opening hours in mental health community clinics will be extended to enable face-to-face sessions and assessments — to be conducted in accordance with physical distancing requirements — focusing on prevention and providing support to those who need it.
As a community, and as individuals, we can all help with this: keep connecting with family and friends over the phone or video chat, and make sure your neighbours are coping with lockdown.
Warrandyte is well placed to come through this challenge with a stronger sense of community and togetherness following our shared isolation.
Living smart, living local
Some local businesses will be hurting right now, and you may be inclined to go out and shop to help support local traders, but remember, once per day, one person, per household, can leave the house to go shopping.
The restrictions, as they currently stand, give us the option to choose who goes shopping, what they buy and where and when (within restrictions) but if we do not all try to live within the confines of these restrictions, and numbers continue to rise, then those freedoms will be at risk of requiring a permit as well.
The Directions also state that you can only use your vehicle to travel to a place to exercise, within your five kilometres, if it is not reasonably practicable to do so without using your vehicle.
There are also severe limitations on what recreational activity you can do in public, during your one-hour per day.
The list of permissible activities is also extremely short, activities such as golf, kayaking, horse riding and boot camps are off the table, limiting exercise to either walking, running, cycling or kicking the ball with a mate on the local oval, for the foreseeable future.
Most community sports and recreation facilities are closed.
Tennis courts and stadia have literally padlocked their front gates and councils have erected cyclone fencing and hazard tape around skate parks, playgrounds and community fitness equipment.
Luckily for residents of 3113, there are a wealth of walking trails on our doorstep which means your daily 60 minutes is not limited to walking the streets.
As with all the directions prior to these, there is an element of common sense to the execution of these directions in our everyday life.
For example, you can only travel within five kilometres of your property for shopping, but if the essential service you need is more than five kilometres away, then you are permitted to travel to that, but you must visit the closest most practicable provider of the service you require.
Gardening and building supply businesses are also offering click and collect and contactless delivery services, so if you are looking to work on your garden, using a local garden supplies business with a delivery service might be your best bet.
But it seems, that mostly, people in 3113 are doing the right thing, whilst, as of Sunday, August 9, there were 72 active cases in Manningham and 67 in Nillumbik, recent postcode data for 3113 indicated Warrandyte is back to zero active cases.
As part of our #wearitwellWarrandyte social media campaign, the Diary wants to hear from you all, we want to see pictures and videos of your local five-kilometres.
Send an email to:
firstname.lastname@example.org with “My 5KM” in the header and tell us what you love about living within your five kilometres.
Getting arty with our health and safety
By JO FRENCH
WHETHER IT be instore or online, finding a mask or two right now is high on everyone’s shopping list.
Social media is awash with crafty critters that have turned their hand to mask making and several of the businesses in town are selling the wares of this new cottage industry.
Kim Miatke from Calla Collective is one of the local businesses selling the masks made by local makers.
“We made the decision not to make our own masks,” said Kim.
“At Calla Collective our vision is about supporting other people in the community to use their gifts and talents, especially at this really hard time.”
Kim stocked up on locally made fabric masks as quickly as she could.
“In the first week of needing masks people were panicked, they were fearful.
“It was a very intense week; it was heavy, and people were sad
“We did 12 days straight administering masks, it went nuts as soon as it went on social media.
“The phone didn’t stop ringing, we were contacting makers, driving around and picking up, packaging, coordinating orders, it was crazy.
“None of us like wearing a mask and it is challenging,” said Kim, “and it has been hard for people to find something that is comfortable.”
Kathy Donovan is a local mask maker, selling both online and supplying to Calla Collective.
When the need for masks was made evident, Kathy naturally turned to her sewing machine.
“I’ve been sewing all my life,” said Kathy, “and pre-COVID I did markets with a friend, but we have done nothing since February, so this was a chance to do something.
“It has just taken off,” said Kathy, “I put an ad on marketplace and had to take it down — I was inundated.”
Kathy is a trainer with St John’s Ambulance and with first aid training and an acute awareness of infection and PPE guidelines, Kathy’s advice for mask wearing and handling is to be noted.
“If you are wearing a mask under your nose it is not right,” said Kathy, “and you need to wear them once and then wash them,” she said.
“It’s a good idea to carry a Ziplock bag labelled ‘used masks’ in your pocket, car or handbag, and drop them straight in to it when you take them off to stop contamination.”
Anna Smart is from Park Orchards and is also assisting Calla Collective with orders as well as selling via social media.
“As masks became mandatory, I thought ‘let’s fire up the sewing machines’ and since then, me and my Janome have been working overtime,” she said.
Anna is a self-taught seamstress and says it is nice to have a skill that can be used and appreciated at this time.
“Sewing is often overlooked as a skill these days, with the focus on mass produced items.
“There has been lots of nights burning the midnight oil, and I’ve been able to use some of the fabric I’ve been storing for quite a while,” said Anna.
Karen is a resident of Creekside in Warrandyte.
She trained as a dress designer and at one time made wedding dresses, and now her competence is put to a new and vital need.
Karen started with developing a prototype from the internet and working on it until the product was perfect.
At first, she laboured for her loved ones; four children and their partners, then the seven grandchildren over two.
It was not long before friends received her special creations and then she turned her hand to supporting the community.
She quickly used up Spotlight’s dense thread count material but was able to access the fabric closer to home from Clare’s Fabrics boutique shop, on the grounds of Warran Glen Garden Centre.
Maddy Connolly from Ringwood North was a children’s party entertainer pre-COVID and has spent many hours dressed as Elsa and other princesses.
COVID restrictions put an end to children’s parties and Maddy found the first round of isolation very challenging to be out of work.
“First iso was pretty rough”, said Maddy, “I felt like I didn’t have any purpose, I didn’t have anything to do.”
“When Lockdown 2.0 arrived, I thought I have to find something to do.
“I found the sewing machine in the shed, and as there are six people in the family, I thought it would be cheaper if I made us some masks.
“I looked up a YouTube tutorial and just made them for the family,” she said.
Demand took off when friends of Maddy’s siblings and colleagues from her Mum’s work also wanted some.
So, having had no income for a while, Maddy accepted the challenge and has now made well over 50 masks.
“Working in batches of cutting and then sewing, it takes about half an hour to make a mask,” said Maddy, “the machine is getting a good workout.
“I did textiles in Year 8 but hadn’t touched it since, but the manual was in the box – lucky for me.”
Maddy’s family are enjoying having an inhouse seamstress and asking her to make masks to match their outfits.
16-year-old Amelia O’Neill, from Wonga Park, is currently studying at Luther College and working shifts at a Coles Supermarket.
In the gaps, Amelia is spending hours making masks to help meet the demand.
Amelia started her own business when she was 12 years old, making dog bandanas, hair scrunchies and cushions, and selling them at markets.
Abandoning this several years ago as work and study demands increased, it wasn’t until the mask mandate was broadcast, and her mum encouraged her to get sewing again, that Amelia sat at the machine again.
“I worked out how to make a mask and got to work,” said Amelia.
She posted her masks on social media and was inundated with orders immediately.
“I finished a shift at work and looked at my phone and I had hundreds of orders,” said Amelia.
With supplies selling out fast all over town, the search went as far as Collingwood for materials and supplies, but for now Amelia is well stocked.
“I’ve made over two hundred masks,” she said, “and now I’ve paid off schoolies for next year.”
Let’s hope this is all over soon and schoolies is on for next year Millie.
Congratulations to all those wonderful women (and several men) who have rallied to the cause pulled their sewing machines out of hiding and set to work to help us combat this crisis together.
Reusable masks are available locally from Calla Collective, The Avenue, Douglas & Hope, and other local retailers.
Under Stage 4 Lockdown, purchases can be made via click and collect and delivery — see page 20 for contact details.
Independent mask makers can be found via social media.
There are so many mask makers out there, it really is easy to find a mask which suits your outfit, mood, or personality.
As part of the #wearitwellWarrandyte social media campaign, Warrandyte Diary is asking you to take a selfie of you wearing your favourite — possibly locally made — mask so we can celebrate the good during these times and showcase the many wonderful designs our local mask makers are producing.
Send your mask face pictures to email@example.com