They're scenes not witnessed in many people's lifetime. Playgrounds and some public recreational facilities are fenced off, art galleries and libraries are no go zones and a swag of social and civic events cancelled as the community tries to stem the spread of a killer virus.
Driving home of a Friday night, Auburn Street is quiet. The clubs are closed and only a few cars dot the thoroughfare. The restaurants left open are doing take-away only and at the south end, the normally hopping Tattersalls and Astor Hotels are shut up.
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They could be scenes out of a movie, as many have noted, but they've become our new reality, at least for now. Once infrequently used phrases like "social distancing" and "abundance of caution" have become commonplace. And police are enforcing an ever tightening set of laws governing our movements.
Many of us haven't experienced anything like it, so perhaps we could learn a few lessons from past generations. Our forebears have suffered world wars and bitter conflicts in between, the Great Depression and more. They endured despite the poverty, uncertainty, grief and social upheaval and helped create what we enjoy today.
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The difference now is that the current coronavirus challenge is largely in our hands, no pun intended. We can choose to ignore the social gathering restrictions or play our part in stemming the spread. We can question the inevitable inconsistencies in these laws or recognise that every little bit will help safe lives.
The community can also choose the way it behaves. Do we indulge in rudeness and lack of respect that are sadly becoming every day occurrences at supermarkets or have some consideration for our fellow human being?
The coronavirus response has brought out the best and worst in society. Fortunately in Goulburn we have seen some heartwarming acts of kindness, like Richard Donovan's Bags of Hope and Love project, delivering groceries to the elderly and those in need.
Mission Australia and other agencies are also reaching out to the vulnerable with packages of information, activities to keep the kids busy and other items. Many other people are doing their bit.
Police told The Post yesterday that they haven't had to issue any infringement notices for people disobeying the new laws. Let's keep it that way, but most of all, let's maintain our civility and count our blessings.
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