SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

FOR many people, especially those in retail and hospitality; the pubs, cafes, restaurants and accommodation providers, 2020 had been a very tough year.
Of course, for the 820 families who lost a loved one in Victoria, particularly between July and October when we had that terrible run of deaths, peaking at 59 on September 4, it was tragic.
But the reality is, while we were told it was going to be like living through a World War, most of us down here in the country were able to get about our business quite happily, with a few inconveniences easily dealt with.
Some, like the trades, those in real estate, the toilet paper and pasta manufacturers, and dog breeders even thrived.
So, how did you get through 2020… OK we hope.
But, as we have seen in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, it isn’t over yet and we need to remain vigilant.
It looks like the vaccine won’t really have any impact in Australia until well into next year, so we need to keep our good hygiene practices going as the first line of defence – the social distancing, handwashing and coughing and sneezing into your elbow, etc.
And as much as we might find masks annoying, everyone should keep one in their pocket for those occasions when we’re in a busy shop or location.
As they found in Sydney, it can be a week or more, while the bug is being carried by young people and others who don’t show symptoms, before the authorities know it is even there.
Not worried… go tell your grandmother that!
However, as we close in on the end of a tough 2020, we all deserve a pat on the back for the way we have responded, for the way we’ve got into the community spirit of protecting others as well as ourselves.
It’s been a hard way to learn the lesson, but we really are “all in this together” and that message should resonate in a lot of ways: general commitment to action on climate change, volunteering, genuine engagement with the community by all levels of government and more.
So, as we go into 2021, we need to keep the faith on our COVID response and hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel early in the New Year.