As I'm writing this Melbournians are entering stage four restrictions, limiting their way of life in ways we can only imagine.
This is very personal for me as this level of lock-down was what my family in New Zealand experienced at the onset of the pandemic.
My 82-year-old mum was housebound for the entire time, and my favourite uncle passed away, without a funeral or family able to gather to celebrate his life.
Add to this the advice from the Premier yesterday that our borders will remain shut until at least the end of August.
It brings home to me that we are far from out of the woods.
So calls for restrictions to be eased so we can all enjoy our way of life feel rather counter-intuitive to me.
I agree the burden being felt especially by our hospitality and tourism businesses is severe, and it will come at a financial as well as a mental health cost for many.
This we can't overlook or disregard.
These sacrifices are something we should acknowledge every time we buy something locally.
And governments at all levels need to sustain their supports for these businesses.
Equally, we can't keep our borders closed forever.
I fully support the decision by the Premier given the changing circumstances on the mainland.
But speaking from a tourism perspective, our long-term survival as an industry that was pre-COVID generating $2.52 billion annually for the state, depends on us welcoming visitors back to our island.
With existing, and hopefully future, supports from federal and state governments we can get by for a finite period.
We can feel assured that in a normal year Tasmanians reportedly spend $1.7 billion on their travels off-island.
A fair portion of this we should reasonably expect to now be spent in Tasmania.
And if the July school holidays are anything to go by, Tasmanians did exactly that, with more Hobartians spotted travelling around the North than ever before.
Some days you couldn't turn around without tripping over one!
We need as a community to stop reacting to the fear of COVID returning to Tasmania and focus instead on solutions to mitigate this from happening.
We will eventually open borders to other states.
This ideally will be a staged re-emergence from our state-level isolation. This is a sound approach, open to safe states, with lower visitor volumes so we can establish processes and behaviours to keep us all safe.
We also all need to become familiar with the restrictions in place across airlines and airports.
If only for our peace of mind that these border controls are strict and are being followed without exception.
All airlines and airports adhere to what is called the COVID Safe Domestic Passenger Journey protocols, which outline what must happen at airports and on aeroplanes.
Added to this are Tasmanian government public health standards that apply to our airports.
These restrictions are a burden our business sectors are bearing on our behalf, and again I stress we all need to respect that sacrifice and support local business in any way we can to show our appreciation and play our part in keeping them trading.
This should be seen as only half of our safety solution, we all need to become experts, again, in social distancing and adhering to restrictions. And to be honest as a community I think we have become a bit lax of late. With borders closed and no community spread of the virus for months, we are almost back to normal. My test for is the 'hand-shake rule.' How many times a day does someone try and shake my hand as a greeting? Currently, it's one in three times. That is one in every three people I meet forgets or worse yet dismisses the need for social distancing.
Like learning any skill the best method is a constant practice.
In this case, constantly practising social distancing and adhering to restrictions to a point where they become second nature as our responsibility.
Businesses be they retail, hospitality or tourism, are obligated to adhere to the WorkSafe restrictions in place.
Here at Tourism Northern Tasmania we run a program called COVID Gold Standard, a business coaching support freely available to visitor focused businesses and events.
It provides a second opinion on how to turn compliance into a positive when providing service to customers.
But this investment in compliance is only as good as our willingness to adhere to these new standards when we visit local businesses.
- Chris Griffin, Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive.