Christmas is a time to open up
Families have endured another tough year. COVID-19 has separated many families across Australia and disrupted livelihoods and businesses.
But with Christmas and summer holidays just around the corner there’s reason for more optimism. Vaccination rates in most states and territories are nearing 80% which is the benchmark for most governments opening up their borders.
On Monday NSW and Victoria allowed international travellers in without the need to quarantine for two weeks, and in doing so, Sydney and Melbourne became the first cities in the country to do so. For loved ones separated for months on end, the decision was very much welcomed.
Victoria has also eased many restrictions in recent weeks. After suffering the harshest lockdowns anywhere in the world, Melburnians have been told summer is likely to be as near normal as possible. After six lockdowns in twenty months the news was greeted with a collective cheer by people throughout the city.
South Australia has also indicated its border restrictions will ease in late November or early December, and Tasmania is likely to do the same in coming weeks.
Queensland and WA have imposed the strongest border closures during the pandemic, but the Queensland government has indicated Australians could be free to travel to the Sunshine state by Christmas. At this stage WA is still the big unknown with vaccinations levels in that state likely to determine what happens next.
Those states and territories that have managed to keep the virus at bay understand that once borders open, the virus will also get in. Understandably, they don’t want their hospitals and ICUs overflowing with COVID patients and a rising death toll.
But it’s important to remember that Christmas is a time for families. It’s a time of giving, a time of sharing, and a time of being grateful for our families.
It’s important, therefore, for Australia to be fully open in December so people can see and embrace their loved ones.
Joseph and Mary did it tough. They were turned away from many places before a humble stable was found where Mary could give birth. The stable wasn’t an ideal place to have a baby, the Son of God, but they managed. And on that day more than 2,000 years ago they became a family. Today we still celebrate that event, and we celebrate families.