Surviving Stage 3
As we continue to endure months and months of pandemic-related restrictions, we can all be forgiven if our democratic sensibilities are somewhat rattled by the constant directives relating to what we can and cannot do. Do wear a mask, don’t leave home unless absolutely necessary, do stay 1.5 metres apart, don’t touch your face…and on and on it goes. As frustrating, and necessary, as these restrictions are, there is hopefully some light at the end of the tunnel with trials of a COVID-19 vaccine at Oxford University showing some promise. Recent media reports indicate the best-case scenario is that this vaccine is the magic bullet we are waiting for and we could begin an immunisation program in early 2021. The worst case is that a new normal pervades our lives for the foreseeable future as we await another viable vaccine or a slowing spread of COVID-19. Either way, this lockdown definitely cramps our style, crimps our plans and checks our finances.
With the ongoing and unpredictable situation in Victoria, regrettably it has become necessary to cancel this year’s Victorian Bar dinner. It was hoped that there would be a possibility for the dinner to take place later in the year, however the second round of restrictions put paid to those plans. I am optimistic that this event will go ahead next year in May, which will give our guest speaker, Chief Justice William Alstergren, additional time to hone what promises to be a really cracking speech.
Although our liberty is under siege and hopes of social in-person interaction dashed for the time being, there are still creative ways to socialise and stave off boredom. The obligatory warning on alcohol consumption applies, but if you’re looking for a pub, why not enjoy a virtual pub online? The great thing about virtual pubs is that teetotallers can join in and no one will be the wiser. There are also fun pub-like trivia nights that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Quiz meisters and Quizzame Livestream offer fun trivia activities – just don’t be tempted to cheat with your friend Dr Google…
For the music lovers and aesthetes among us, you can tune in for the final instalment of Melbourne’s free Jazz online festival this Saturday 25 July. As a film-lover, I was dismayed at the oh-so-brief taste we had of the cinematic experience before Stage 3 closed down drive-ins and cinemas once more; if you’re in the same boat, but are bored with bingeing Netflix, then you might enjoy some high-brow entertainment with free on-demand theatre, comedy and drama. Now is a great time to support local talent, as the Australian entertainment industry continues to limp through this crisis.
As COVID began to make its effects known, VicBar’s Health and Wellbeing Committee worked hard to provide myriad online resources to members; the list of activities caters to families, couples and individuals. Even the resources for parents consist of a list of activities great for adults and children alike – live stream zoo cameras and live circus performances to name just a few. I’d like to thank the Health and Wellbeing Committee for compiling this list, which is a more important resource than ever now that we are in the grip of lockdown 2.0. For a list of activities, visit VicBar’s health and wellbeing page here and scroll down to the subheading ‘Resources for staying well while working from home’.
Looking after our mental health is imperative at times like this – but for many in our community, and our profession, the strains and anxiety are overwhelming. Victorian Bar’s next In Conversation webinar is with his Honour Judge John Cain, Chief Coroner, Robert Richter QC, Sandy Rea, psychologist (who you may know from regular appearances on Channel 9), and VicBar CEO, Katherine Lorenz, speaking about the scourge of mental ill-health. You can register for the Zoom webinar on Tuesday 4 August here.
VicBar takes the wellbeing of members seriously and this is why I have been firm in my recent communications in support of the health and safety measures introduced by the Victorian Government. Now that face masks have become our new normal, I wish you a safe, fun, masked weekend. I hope you find interesting activities to keep you and your family engaged and connected – perhaps by taking the time to make your individualised face mask, which you can learn to do here!