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News, Victoria

‘A long six weeks’: LGBTIQ community reacts to Melbourne lockdown

Members of the LGBTIQ community have voiced their reactions to Melbourne’s new lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.

Introduced on the weekend, the stage four restrictions are expected to be in place for six weeks, with residents in the Melbourne metropolitan area required to stay in their homes except for essential shopping, care and caregiving, exercise, and work.

Visiting partners, or family in health and aged care facilities, is allowed, but visitation between households is otherwise not allowed.

A nightly curfew is now in place from 8 pm to 5 am.

Leaning on each other

Community members have shared reactions ranging from fear to optimism.

After previous periods of isolation due to COVID-19, some said they felt they had already been through a similar ordeal to the latest lockdown.

Residents Jac and Ki said they respectively felt “okay” and “strangely calm” under the circumstances.

“I’ve felt pretty rough in recent weeks and leant on other people,” said Jac.

“Now I’m feeling better, I can return the favour… and that’s how we’ll get through.”

The pandemic and isolation have taken on a toll on the community, with LGBTIQ people among the hardest hit psychologically and financially.

“My partner and me cuddled on the couch to watch the announcement and it felt like living a story, hearing the [coronavirus] numbers,” said Cas.

“When this started, it felt like it would end soon, and now it’s just worse and worse.

“I’m just non-stop crafting because I have to put this nervous energy somewhere.”

Melburnian Jason said it would be “a long six weeks” but that he had been in a similar level of lockdown against the virus since March.

Ellie said that her work, recreation, and plans had all been affected by the new restrictions, with a favourite store falling just beyond the 5 km limit for residents to travel from home – “not a huge deal but very important things to me”.

Sex workers impacted

Queensland resident Hope said she held concerns for loved ones.

“I am worried about friends and family in Victoria and really worried about sex workers in Victoria who don’t have other ways to make money,” she said.

Sex workers around Australia and the world have been impacted by the pandemic, with many unable to access government assistance while not working.

A community donation fund is helping to support workers in need.

More than 18,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Australia so far, and more than 18 million worldwide.

Hundreds of cases are being reported daily in Victoria as the new wave of the virus continues.

If you need support or someone to talk to, please refer to our list of Australian community services and resources.

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