6 things to remember when lockdown ends

Friends and family at a backyard barbecue

Blanche Clark

Posted October 21, 2021

What you need to know before lockdown restrictions are eased.  

With Melbourne holding the title for the most locked-down city in the world, you would be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with all the freedoms ahead and the decisions you’ll have to make. Which café will you dine in first? When will you throw your first dinner party? What new part of Melbourne will you explore?

You’ll also need to think about your new daily routine and consider how living post-lockdown is going to change. Vaccine certificates, venue caps, pre-booking of activities and the potential for heavier traffic means post-lockdown life will look a lot different.

It’s also important to consider that along with excitement, whether it comes from yourself or those around you, there will be trepidation about increasing social interaction and upending home routines as lockdown rules ease.

 Here is your guide to preparing for re-opening and post-lockdown life.

Vaccination verification

You may need proof of full-vaccination to gain entry to a variety of businesses and services reopening across Victoria, unless you have an exemption. The Service Victoria app allows you to check in to a business or location via a QR code and show proof of vaccination. Once you’re fully vaccinated, you can access your digital COVID vaccine certificate (you’ll need a Medicare number) through myGov or the Express Plus Medicare app. Either of these will let you download your vaccination certificate to your Apple Wallet or Google Play on your mobile.

If the certificate is linked to the Service Victoria app, you can show a venue your check-in confirmation screen. They'll see a green tick and your name and the words “valid certificate”. For international travel, you’ll need a “vaccine passport”. This has a secure QR code and can be downloaded via myGov.

Plan and book activities

There has been a flurry of bookings for restaurants, hairdressers and holidays. But be mindful that, after months of being closed, many businesses are short staffed and need time to get back on their feet. Be patient with them as the navigate the new rules.

Venues will continue to have capacity limits and you may have to queue to check in. Roads will be busier, and it may take longer to reach your destination. The key to managing these frustrations is to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your new freedoms. 

Woman with face mask working in a cafe

You will need proof of your double vaccination to sit in a Melbourne cafe. Image: Getty.

Maintain good hygiene

Just because lockdown has ended, doesn’t mean personal hygiene has to end as well.

In the early days of COVID-19, the emphasis was on hand sanitation, but once masks became mandatory, many people forgot that good hygiene is still critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, washing your hands can prevent other illnesses and bacteria and prevent the spread of illnesses.

Medical experts advise that you should wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water, or a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. Carry a small tube of hand sanitiser with you when you’re out and about, and use what’s provided in venues. Keep practicing social distancing and stay at least 1.5 meters distance away from other people.

Carry a face mask

Face masks will remain a key feature in our lives for some time. Under the government’s roadmap, masks will no longer be required outdoors after reaching the 80 per cent vaccination mark. But, unless otherwise advised by health authorities, masks will still be required on public transport, and inside venues and shops, except when eating, drinking or exercising. If your mask is giving you skin problems or grief, try some of these face-mask hacks.

Keep your home COVID safe

One of the greatest joys for the end of lockdown lies with allowing people to visit your home. Now that dinner parties, family gatherings or movie night with friends are back on, make sure your event is keeping your family and friends safe.

You should regularly clean frequently touched services. Consider setting up a hygiene station at your front door and encourage visitors to sanitise their hands. Don’t leave used face masks lying around - put them in the wash or a bin and encourage visitors to pop theirs in their pocket or bag while they’re eating. Health authorities recommend that Victorians only allow people (who are aged 12 years and over) who are fully vaccinated to visit their home. New restrictions allow for a maximum of 10 visitors, including dependents, to your home per day.

Be kind to yourself and others

The transition from confinement to freedom will take some adjustment. Take it step by step and don’t overcommit. You don’t have to fill up your social calendar immediately, and when you do go out, be mindful that other people are adjusting as well. Some people are returning to work after months at home.

Be aware that you may feel anxious. This is normal. Change your routine slowly, add new experiences each week and maintain the things you’ve enjoyed during lockdown, such as your daily walk.