AUSTRALIA Day celebrations and calls for reconciliation, long weekends, and children going back to school – it’s all starting to feel a bit normal.

And after the long, difficult year that was 2020, normal is a very welcome feeling.

In fact, it’s something we craved as we worked from home, schooled from home, shopped online and saw community events cancelled en masse.

Crowds of tourist visitors and Lyric Theatre’s sell-out season of Wind in the Willows are clear indications of our desire for normal.
But will things ever truly be normal again – and should they?

As long as COVID-19 devastates countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, international travel must remain on hold to protect our fragile grasp on this insidious disease. It would only take one slip for it to run rampant here and force us back into lockdown.
Leongatha Primary School principal Dot Coghlan has urged parents to continue the “drop and go” routine established last year to limit gatherings of people in the school grounds.

Face masks, social distancing and an emphasis on hand hygiene must continue to be a part of our new normal. Social conscience must come into play. Staying home and getting tested whenever we have symptoms are a part of our new normal.

We’re all weary after a year that started with bushfires and exploded into a pandemic, but the authorities are not crying wolf when they call on us to be careful. Permit systems, isolation, quarantine are not pleasant nor convenient, but they are necessary.

So, let’s celebrate as our children return to school this week and more and more us are returning to workplaces, but let’s also remember that this is a new normal that needs all of us to be cautious and to play it safe for the greater good.