Long weekends like the upcoming May Day public holiday are normally a great opportunity to relax with a barbecue or go camping with mates – but this weekend we have to proceed with caution.
Australians everywhere have been doing a great job at stopping the spread of COVID-19, and because so many people have adhered to the health advice and recommendations, Wide Bay is tracking well to stamp it out altogether in our region.
But we can't make the mistake of thinking we have defeated it and we can now relax. While some restrictions have been eased, this long weekend will be a true test to see how we handle the pandemic in the coming months.
If we stick to the rules and get it right, it's likely that restrictions will continue to be eased and we will gradually be able to get back to normal living again.
If we don't, then we're likely to see more cases of coronavirus – and that not only endangers peoples' lives but also means we will face increased restrictions again, denting morale and damaging the economy.
From tomorrow, you can travel for recreation within a 50km radius of your home – you can take the bike for a spin, go fishing with one mate, or take the kids for a picnic in the park. You can even support a local business and shop for a Mother's Day present.
But everyone still needs to abide by the 1.5-metre social distancing rules, and stick to the strict regulation of socialising outside with only the members of your household, or with only one other person who does not live with you.
The Australian Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be updated as the situation changes, and for more information on current guidelines, I would encourage everyone to visit www.australia.gov.au.
I hope everyone can safely enjoy this weekend so we can get back to our normal work routines sooner, helping our communities and our economy bounce back from the coronavirus.
- LLEW O'BRIEN
Federal Member for Wide Bay
Deputy Speaker for the House of Representatives