By the time Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians to return home from NSW that invitation did not extend to those in the northern beaches.
The warning not to venture into Sydney prevented my husband joining us for Christmas. All Christmas presents for the children that my husband was going to bring with him remain in Melbourne, yet to be opened.
All of these issues we navigated with patience and adaptability. The continuation of the lockdown to January 9, though, has broken hearts, particularly because the number of new daily infections is low and the testing rates have been high. The uncertainty is corrosive: when can we get home? Will we need to quarantine? Can this be completed before school returns?
Parts of the northern beaches, on the western foreshore, Pittwater, are remote, their communities small. We see more wallabies each day than we do people so COVID-19 is unlikely to spread here. We are happy to be sure of this though and would welcome testing sites for these communities. The nearest site otherwise appears to be more than an hour away by ferry and walking. It is unfortunate that these remote offshore communities have the stigma associated with the northern beaches but not the help that has been provided to other more built-up communities.
It is to be hoped that the Victorian and NSW governments will work together to bring healthy COVID-19 free Victorians back home in time for the start of school.
What will satisfy both governments that it is safe to do so? Now is the time to tell us what requirements there may be. We are more than happy to meet them.
Melissa Coburn is a freelance writer.