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Why I’m celebrating the easing of lockdown, with friends

15 June, 2020

It feels refreshing to end weeks of imposed social distancing by meeting people in person, writes Josh Hose.

'I'm a very active person, and being cooped up at home would have driven me crazy.'

'Each of us has to take many factors into consideration. For example, I live alone and so I didn’t feel like I was putting anyone else at risk.'

'Am I prepared already to take a further step? Yep, there are two things I am yearning for.'

When the novel coronavirus – aka Wuhan flu, aka COVID-19 – came into the vernacular, I certainly raised an eyebrow. From a news perspective, the virus went from a simmer early January in eastern China to a boiling pot come late February in Italy.

Throughout this period, government policy and community perception of how to handle it swung like a pendulum. From Scomo’s going to watch his mighty Sharks in the NRL to his not going. From health organization advice that face masks do nothing, to advice that masks bring a resource to fight the virus.

From black and gold toilet paper to toilet paper actually being worth its weight in gold.

From You can’t see your mum on Mother’s Day because you may kill her, to Please don’t join a crowd of thousands for a protest but if you do, exercise physical distancing.

As a community and a nation, we had really no bloody idea of how to go about this. Which is understandable given the unprecedented situation for this generation.

I’m 33 years old, and have an incomplete C6-7 spinal cord injury from being a passenger in a car crash. In general, I try to only worry about what I can control. And so as I went about my daily life, basically I took calculated risks.

I still went to work, where we practised physical distancing. That said, I wasn’t 100 per cent sure that physical distancing would work. But I am a very active person, and being cooped up at home would have driven me crazy.

Each of us has to take many factors into consideration. For example, I live alone and so I didn’t feel like I was putting anyone else at risk – just myself. I’m in a different place from people in households where other members are high-risk.

I still did my exercise at the community athletics track. I have a lot of energy. Given that general activities weren’t allowed, I needed the exercise to stave off the cabin-fever and my playing out of a scene from the movie The Shining.

I did stop using public transport though – I no longer took the metro train. Clearly, one can’t exercise physical distancing on a train carriage. So the lesser of two evils was to be driven to where I needed to go.

Overall, I did not find the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown too distressing. I was still able to go about my daily life. What it most affected was my social life.

I am partial to a cheeky red wine with friends. This in particular did maybe grow thin with me – the way the restrictions prevented my socializing and getting out.

I do like to eat out and go out. Whether to satisfy my weekly pho craving down on Barkly Street in Footscray, or out for a bigger evening down at Southbank.

So what am I thinking now with restrictions lifting?

Well, I was out the first weekend I could get out, riding the 5:03pm Friday V/Line service to a mate’s joint at Geelong and celebrating his birthday with that cheeky glass of red wine.

It was interesting to observe the lack of numbers on the train, which oddly enough made me feel even safer.

It was great to reunite with the allowed allotment of friends. Having been caged up, if you will, for such a long time, it was refreshing to be back out amongst it on a social level.

Am I prepared already to take a further step? Yep, there are two things I am yearning for.

One, the borders opening for international flights.

Two, the reopening of my favorite pho restaurant down on Barkly Street.

Why I will stay locked down until we beat COVID-19 - John Theodoropoulos offers an alternative view.

Josh Hose is a Peer Support Project Officer with AQA/Spire. He has been living with a C6-7 spinal cord injury since 1985.

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