For the health of all Victorians, Melbourne is going into lockdown for a second time.
We know it’s going to be tough. My office has received many calls and emails. It warms my heart to know that so many of you want to help each other during this time.
I’ve put together this blog with information and links, in response to common questions about the lockdown. I hope you find it useful.
I encourage you to get in touch with my office, which is still open (remotely!) if you need support, have ideas or would like to discuss any issue related to COVID-19.
1. STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES
To slow the spread of the virus we ALL must:
- Stay at home. If you live in Metro Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, you can only leave your home for four reasons (work or education if you can’t do it from home, to give or receive care, essential grocery shopping and daily exercise).
- Wear a face mask when outside your home if it is difficult to keep 1.5 metres apart from other people
- Stay 1.5m apart from other people when you’re out and about.
- If you have any of these symptoms - runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever or chills, loss of sense of smell - get tested as soon as possible. Testing sites can be found here.
- Do not leave home if you’re unwell, unless it’s to get a test or medical care.
- Wash your hands frequently - with soap.
- Use hand sanitiser where you can’t wash your hands (if you have it)
- Clean 'high touch' areas like door handles, taps and flush buttons frequently
- Avoid sharing food, especially on platters
- Cough into our elbows or a tissue (hankies are out, sorry nanna)
- If you can work from home and limit your contact with other people, do so. Essential workers can still leave home to attend work.
Be extra conscious of the elderly, people with disability, anyone with illnesses or a compromised immune system. 'Social distancing' is a confronting phrase, but it means you should stay away from others wherever possible, and it's about keeping everyone safe, especially those who are most at risk. Here’s a great article about why our response matters.
2. HELP OUT IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
It is important we stay connected (digitally, even if we can’t in person!) and keep an eye out for each other. If people need to self isolate, neighbours can coordinate dropping off supplies, walking the dog, or having a (phone) chat.
A number of Facebook groups have emerged across Melbourne with people offering and asking for help.
Here are some existing Facebook groups you can join:
- Love your neighbour Melbourne - COVID-19 inspired local connection
- Northside Melbourne Coronavirus Outreach
- Westside Melbourne Coronavirus Outreach
You may also like to set up smaller groups for your street or building, to support each other at a very local level.
3. STAY CONNECTED FROM A DISTANCE
In our 21st century lives, there are plenty of ways to be social without being in the same room. There’s no better time than now to embrace them!
Who are those family members and friends you should get in touch with, digitally?
A note of warning: Digital engagement will be the most positive where it’s directly with those you know or in your community. Be wary of the endless scrolling through alarming stories that leaves you more stressed and less connected!
4. SUPPORT THOSE HARDEST HIT
Public Housing Tower Crisis
For people who are angry about what has happened and the lack of investment in public housing, please sign our petition on public housing.
We are also calling on the Victorian Government to start an inquiry into the handling of the public housing towers lockdown. You can help us by writing to the government about it.
Many people have already lost jobs, many more have lost shifts, and there may be more to come. Artists and performers have been especially impacted as venues close.
If you’re worried about how your work might be affected by the spread of the virus you can find out more about your rights and OHS safety here.
The Australian music industry is compiling submissions from those who have lost work due to cancelled events. You can find out how you can help struggling artists here and if you’ve been impacted, they want to hear from you.
If you’ve been affected by cancelled gigs or lost work in the arts industry, Support Act provides a well-being hotline and crisis relief services for artists, crew and music workers. You can help by sharing this link.
Rough sleepers are at particular risk because they can’t bulk-buy food and hand sanitizer or self-isolate. Often they live in crowded spaces where COVID-19 could thrive. Front-line organisations providing care to rough sleepers need our support in times like this. You can donate to help here. We’re also advocating for these people with the Minister.
Similarly, refugee support organisations like the ASRC are being affected by sold-out supermarkets, so if you have any extra food you can donate to support them here.
Small businesses are also struggling right now. I've put together a list of businesses in Melbourne who could use some support - click here for the list. You'll also find a link to submit your business if you'd like to be added.
Do you know any businesses who need some support? We've prepared a comprehensive list of the government relief packages and support mechanisms available.
5. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
The constant media coverage and impact on people already has been really stressful. These are scary times and it’s important we look after our mental health and do our best to remain calm.
Take care of your own health, follow government health advice and you can find tips on how to cope with stress here. And remember, engage online in ways that help, and not harm!
If you need support or help, please reach out to my office on 9328 4637 or email@example.com and we will do what we can.
Take care and stay safe.
Note: This blog was last updated on 14 July 2020, some advice may have become outdated. Please ensure you stay up-to-date by visiting the Victorian Health Website.