There is so much unknown about Covid19, both about the disease and about the effects of the social distancing it has unleashed. The word we have heard so much lately about this moment in history is "unprecedented". Our world has become unfamiliar. I have taken some photos when I have got out and about of the signs and sights over the last few months. So, though we are easing lockdown restrictions, here are a few reflections.
So many places were shut: cinema, zoos, museums, galleries, hairdressers, pubs, bars, parks, beaches, churches, tattoo parlours, universities, schools, pools, gyms, libraries, playgrounds. The sign above from the Cinema Nova made me feel quite sad as the "Coming Soon" poster. Slowly these places are opening again but it still feels weird to go out and about (or even to visit friends and family).
I rode my bike to the city on one Sunday afternoon and it was eerily quiet. Here is a photo of an Arcade in Melbourne Central Shopping Centre that would usually have tables and chairs filled with people stopping for a drink or meal after shopping.
We visited Lord of the Fries at Brunswick's Barkly Square a couple of times. It was so odd to see the tables and chairs stacked in a corner and blue crosses on the floor to help people social distance in queues. There are lots of crosses and dots on shop floors to keep people away from each other.
I have shared this photo of empty toilet paper shelves before but it still staggers me that we had this happening in my lifetime. The limits on purchases have all been lifted now (though I am not sure about hand sanitiser).
Lots of shops that were still open had these signs like in Sussans with directions about Covid19 and all the symptoms that would prevent anyone going in the store even with a bottle of hand sanitiser at the front.
The Farmers Markets have put limits on people going inside, gone cash free, no more gold coin donation in a bucket at the entrance, no touching food unnecessarily, no sitting around socialising with food from the stalls, and even the stalls are not as close to each other as they used to be.
It has been an odd experience going out. We are so used to buying takeaway food and stopping at a park bench to eat it or even just stopping to chat to people we know. But the signs might as well say "no loitering". The above sign is on a park bench at Barkly Square to stop people sitting there.
Closing the playgrounds makes me think of the Wee Frees in Scotland who used to chain the play equipment on Sundays (not sure if they still do in Northern Scotland).
It was certainly odd to see playgrounds so quiet with swings wound high or some cut off altogether. Bikes became popular as there were very few sports people could still do. Our AFL football is starting up again but with cardboard cut outs for spectators and canned applause. Gradually people are starting to gather in larger numbers and pools and sports clubs are opening up.
In my house I have been working from home since March and am still waiting to hear when we will go back. Sylvia was back at school last Tuesday. My desk is in my bedroom but I now reserve it for work so I try to stay away from it when not working. It has been odd to see so many people's private homes and pets. Our cat Shadow does not sit on my lap but can often be seen over my shoulder in Zoom meetings and I am happy that he does not often sit on my keyboard.
I have not even touched on other issues that have arisen lately such as racism riots, protests, removal of statues and the economy. It has been a time of such enormous change and these photos give a small window into the lockdown moment in history that is already starting to fade,