After yesterday's devastating news of Melbourne's stage 4 lockdown being extended with a progressively slow journey out of restrictions to follow, it's time to take a moment to think again about how we can help and support our Victorian travel industry colleagues through his horrendous time.
I can’t begin to imagine how waking up on Monday morning in Melbourne must have felt after the entirely depressing news yesterday sunk in that stage 4 restrictions for the city are now set to continue for longer with easing restrictions only to follow in the coming months.
This on top of the marathon slog you have already so proudly endured (not including the first lockdown). Not that I need to tell you that obviously since you will have no doubt been counting down the seconds, minutes, hours and days since the stage 4 lockdown restrictions began (again) at the beginning of August.
I can’t imagine what not being able to leave your house between 8pm, and 5am every single day for weeks must have already felt like—nor only being allowed to step outside to exercise for a mere sixty minutes a day.
Rules must not be broken. DO NOT venture more than five kilometres from your house for essential supplies only. DO NOT get your haircut (the hairdressers are closed anyway), DO NOT pass go, DO NOT collect any dollars (except JobKeeper if you’re lucky).
Not to mention having to wear an uncomfortable scratchy face mask every time you do leave the house. How do you wear a face mask for so long? Because you have no choice is sadly how.
I can’t imagine essentially being imprisoned in your own home minus any physical interaction with friends, neighbours, work colleagues and extended family members including the people you’ve never met yet (in real life anyway). And being told this now has to continue even longer as law.
I can’t imagine the disappointment and anger at being forced through no fault of your own to miss marking occasions with loved ones that may never happen again or spontaneous moments out in the world that enrich our lives and make them so magical and wonderful.
For those of you that have kids, I can’t imagine not being able to send them back to school. To pick up the slack you, instead you’ve had to be full-time home entertainers, carers and answer givers to COVID-questions that frankly make no sense to adults either. Including why there can’t be any playdates, sports or outdoor excursions anymore.
How are you managing to stay sane and still do any work at all? And if you are running a business, how is this even possible?
Apparently, by the end of this nightmare, you will have endured a marathon 112 days total at least in lockdown. To put that in perspective, London was only in lockdown for 41 days and Italy for some 58 days. Your lockdown measures are almost double that of Italy’s.
And all of this while you watch the travel and tourism industry stagger further backwards as we hear of more redundancies daily and tread water until the Christmas reopening of (some) state borders at best.
And let’s not even talk about international borders reopening or being denied the AFL Grand Final for the first time in history.
I can’t imagine how you are riding the rollercoaster of outage, anxiety, concern and frustration.
I also can’t believe how so many of you are remaining so brave, upbeat and positive in the face of such adversity. On the surface at least.
To everyone in our travel industry community in Melbourne, I just want to say that I think you are truly amazing.
Not only are you doing the nation proud through the sacrifices you are making for the greater cause, but you are doing our industry proud as a shining example of the community and resilience our beloved travel industry is renowned for.
In what is the biggest economic crisis we have ever had to face, you are also dealing head-on with a hugely challenging situation that none of us around the nation have had to, on top of all of the ongoing pain we are already enduring as a collective industry.
So today on what is truly a blue Monday for industry friends and colleagues in Melbourne, I just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and saying a massive thank you for the huge sacrifices you are making for the benefit of all of us.
I hope you know too, just how grateful we are as an industry and that we are here for you always – Together In Travel.
Please stay strong and know that that you will get through this.
If I can personally help with anything or you would like to share a story, insight or some kind words for our friends in Melbourne, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Leedham | 07 Sep 2020
KARRYON | TOGETHER IN TRAVEL