The coronavirus pandemic saw Mother’s Day marked a little differently in Australia this year, and not everyone obeyed the rules.
Coronavirus restrictions vary wildly across the nation, meaning some Australians will be able to celebrate with their mums in person, while others will be left to say ‘I love you’ over Zoom.
In a move that has caused some controversy, Victoria has kept the nation’s strictest social distancing rules firmly in place, with Victorians forced to stay at home this Mother’s Day.
“The last thing we want to do is to ease off any of those restrictions without a sense of confidence that we are truly on top of this,” Premier Daniel Andrews said, with restrictions not to be reviewed until next week.
‘A calculated risk’: Some plan to flout lockdown rules
Some Victorians have chosen to ignore their premier’s warnings and flouted the state’s strict lockdown rules.
A Sunday afternoon protest against the restrictions outside the Victorian parliament prompted three arrests and saw protesters jeering police.
Carrying signs saying ‘Freedom Now” and ‘I Don’t Agree’, members of the 300-strong crowd of losing the public’s respect by enforcing the lockdown laws.
Earlier in the day a woman attending a similiar protest outside the NSW parliament struggled with police demanding that she “give me the kid”.
She was placed under arrest and her distressed and screaming child given to kin after the woman was subdued, police said.
So, Australian police ripped a little boy away from his mother and arrested her because:
– She wouldn't give them her name
– She was exercising her right to protest, which violates social distancing.
This is disgusting. These cops should be ashamed.pic.twitter.com/gmmmELEqzZ
— Sydney Watson (@SydneyLWatson) May 9, 2020
While making her plans to defy the lockdown laws, one 27-year-old woman told The New Daily she was choosing to risk a fine, and potentially spreading the virus, by visiting her mother in Melbourne’s north for Mother’s Day.
“It’s a calculated risk. If it was high risk, mum said she wouldn’t do it. But it’s low, and she’s made that decision. It’s not like every week,” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
I feel like the benefits of me seeing her outweigh the risk. And again, I think the risk is low. There’s just nothing like a mother’s love.
“My mum is the best, and without her my life is a little bit dull. And also she’ll give me food.”
For Australians that are planning to celebrate their mums while abiding by coronavirus restrictions, some creative thinking has been required.
Normally, Marla Donehue would spend Mother’s Day with her mum and nan, who live in rural Tasmania. She lives in Melbourne and the border closures mean it’s impossible to see them.
“My nan is 80 this year and every year on Mother’s Day I take her to the Macca’s drive-through for her favourite pancakes,” she said.
“We would then drive to the local beach with a thermos of tea and our pancakes.
“It is a silly little tradition, but it makes her so happy and I am sad I won’t be able to take her this year.”
Ms Donehue said she still planned to “make some pancakes or maybe even her favourite carrot cake, and I will send her some photos to her iPad”.
My nan loves receiving mail and so I have also sent both her and my mum little home-made cards this year.”
At aged-care facilities around the country, visits were restricted to only two people per resident.
Because of this, some tried to make the day extra special.
Mercy Health Bethlehem in Bendigo told The New Daily that most of the women residents had been visited by family members throughout the week.
The facility is following the rules and has implemented a strict hygiene policy while trying to make it special as possible.
“They’re doing a special lunch and afternoon tea,” a spokesman said.
“The women have made flower arrangements which will be displayed on the tables on the day.
“The chef has also made them special biscuits.”
Medical experts advise caution
Those in states and territories where it’s legal to visit their mums on Mother’s Day should be cautious, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on Saturday.
“If you are feeling well and you really want to see your mum, I’m sure it is fine. But for elderly mums just be a little bit cautious and probably keep that 1.5-metre distance for now. I know it is hard and we all want to cuddle our mums on Mother’s Day,” he said.
If you abide by the rules and use a little common sense, you have no need to worry, said professor emeritus Gerry FitzGerald, a public health expert at the Queensland University of Technology and a former chief health officer of Queensland.
“The most important thing is to comply with the state rules,” he said.
It is certainly safe to do the things permitted by state governments at this stage, which is what it’s all about,” he said.
“We seemed to have pretty well squished it except in the meatworks in Victoria, which they’ve been jumping on.”
If you’re heading out to visit someone in a nursing home, it really is just about you’re making sure you’re taking reasonable precautions.
Nobody can guarantee that somebody isn’t going to spread it, but the likelihood is low,” Professor FitzGerald said.
“You’re more likely to get hurt in a car accident driving there.
“It is a matter of taking reasonable precautions. So washing your hands, not going if you have a cold, keep your distance, wash your hands, don’t be all over each other.”
On the other hand, “we have to realise there is a downside to social separation, particularly around Mother’s Day”, Professor FitzGerald said.
“It’s an important thing for the grandmas, and the older mums.”