Daniel Andrews has announced that from today, lonely residents in Victoria will be able to nominate a ‘bubble buddy’ to spend lockdown with as the state begins its easing of Stage 4 restrictions.
These past six weeks have been a lonely time for those trapped in Victoria, with many feeling isolated and alone during lockdown.
But, as cases in the state are on a promising decline, Premier Daniel Andrews has permitted an easing of restrictions from today, including allowing people who live alone to nominate a ‘bubble buddy’ to socialise with, as well as a long-awaited extension on curfew. Here’s what you need to know.
It seems the excruciating lockdown restrictions across the state of Victoria have paid off, with daily cases back down to double digits after skyrocketing past 700 back in early August. Today, Dan Andrews has green-lighted an ease of Stage 4 lockdown protocols.
Victoria’s Stage 4 lockdown was the harshest set of restrictions we’ve seen in Australia to date and much of the socialisation that was permitted was restricted to occurring only within households.
The dog is sick of her cat bubble buddy already 😂 pic.twitter.com/oLaVBTjoUO
— Mandy Squires (@mandy_squires) September 14, 2020
But from today, the tight grip of restrictions will be lifted to allow for new ‘bubble buddy’ for singles and an hour slashed from curfew, as well as more time outside for exercising and the opportunity for those who live outside of Melbourne to invite an entire household around for an outdoor barbecue – all with social distancing and masks involved of course.
The whole ‘bubble buddy’sitch came about after a change.org petition was posted, calling for singles to be allowed to have a visitor. The petition attracted over 26,000 signatures.
Half a million Victorians live alone. And Stage 4 restrictions for many, meant a total isolation from the outside world. Reportedly, the strict 5-kilometre-radius lockdown meant many could not even see their friends around the city for a walk.
The petition outlined the need for a platonic version of the pre-existing ‘intimate partners’ protocol. Now, the ‘bubble buddy’ exemption will bypass the 5km radius rule.
My state has just invented a new kind of awkwardness: choosing a friend to ask to be your one “bubble buddy” for lockdown. What if they’ve already commited to someone else? And what if no one asks you to be theirs? Oh, painful memories of MySpace Top friends🙃
— Lawrence Leung (@Lawrence_Leung) September 6, 2020
While there are no restrictions on the number of times you can see your nominated ‘bubble buddy’, you must be home by curfew, which from today will be shortened by one hour to 9 pm.
But it’s not all peaches and cream. If your buddy resides in a share house, their housemates cannot be there while you visit, which may be hard considering the lack of things to do in Victoria right now…
No I don’t want a flipping “Bubble Buddy”.
Fuck off. I’ve got a cat, and I hate people. I already win.
— Adam Ford (@bloodiedwombat) September 13, 2020
However, the whole thing is a step in the right direction for a gruelling and isolated Victoria. Dan Andrews admired the dicey policing of the whole thing, with no official record of the bubble partners being documented.
“What I am doing is I am asking people, in recognition of the challenge and the difficulty and the great sacrifice that people who live alone, the great contribution that they have made to this point, I am asking them to follow these rules,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is this, short of having a police officer knock on every door in the state, we can’t be absolutely certain [they will].”
Morning all. You ok?
Big day for me. My mates bday, my anniversary with the bf and I get to see Mum as a bubble buddy.
— Shae 🔴⚪⚫ (@Shaebee22) September 13, 2020