Locals Trudy and Ben Griffiths, and their 10 year old daughter Chloe, have just finished two weeks of home self-isolation as part of the government’s Coronavirus regulations for Australians who have recently returned from overseas.
The family returned from a holiday in Singapore on March 22 and, after 14 days of staying at home, they were “freed” on Sunday with Ben and Trudy both able to return to work on Monday.
Apart from not having an internet connection for a few days (which made it hard for Chloe to do school work and the family couldn’t access Netflix), all three have survived their forced home lock-up.
Ben, in particular, said he enjoyed his extended holiday.
He said the extra two weeks at home with his family was a bonus as he’s been working fly in/fly out for the past eight months.
Ben kept himself busy working in his shed but said he did miss not seeing other people during their two weeks isolation.
Trudy said they were fortunate that they live just out of town and had plenty of space around them to be able to get outside.
“We are very lucky,” she said.
Trudy kept herself busy doing school work with Chloe and read a lot trying to wrap her head around how the rapid changes of
COVID-19 would affect her business (Gumnut Gifts and Homewares).
Trudy said she missed being able to visit her family and friends but understood the importance of self-isolation.
“I have a 90 year old mother and I would never forgive myself if something happened to her,” she said.
“We live in a small community and I certainly don’t want to be that person who is irresponsible and introduces it and infects other people.”
Trudy said not being able to be there for her staff in these very challenging times was hard.
“Although I don’t think they need me as they are amazing,” she said.
“I guess it’s been good to have time at home but that hasn’t meant I’ve achieved anything more unfortunately.”
Chloe kept herself busy with school work, drawing, playing with the dogs and jumping on the trampoline.
“I like doing my school work at home,” Chloe said.
She also enjoyed spending lots of time with her mum and dad but said being stuck with the same people for two weeks got a bit boring at times and she would have liked to have been able to see her friends.
“You have to Facetime your friends as you can’t actually be with them,” Chloe said.
Trudy said keeping in touch with friends via phone, online shopping from Khans and friends and family members dropping off things they needed had been a great help.
“I’m grateful for growing up in the bush as it’s surprising what you can make do on,” Trudy said.
In hindsight, the family probably would have cancelled their holiday however Trudy said they just didn’t anticipate how quickly things would change.
When they left Cobar on March 13 there was no government warning about not travelling and “at that point there was no real panic,” Trudy said.
“We assessed it and made the decision to go based on the fact we weren’t going to a third world country. Singapore is known to be very clean. Things just changed so rapidly in a way that nobody could have ever thought.”
She said they did however take extra hygiene precautions while they were travelling and felt safe while in Singapore.
Apart from restrictions on mass gatherings, Trudy said they were still able to do all they had planned on their holiday.
“They are a country who has been through SARS so I think they are far better equipped to deal with a pandemic.
“Everywhere you went in Singapore you were temperature screened. This included arrival at airport, hotel check in, breakfast, dinner and tourist attractions. There was hand sanitiser available everywhere and cleaning was constantly taking place.”
From their experience Trudy said it’s really important for people to be hyper aware of their hygiene and self-distancing.
“Life doesn’t have to stop altogether but you just need to do things differently for a while.
“For now this is our new reality so let’s try and make it as bearable as we can.
“I can’t stress the importance enough of checking on each other and the need to support our local community and businesses as we all work our way through this unprecedented time,” Trudy said.