Fleeing lockdown? What were you thinking?

Ian Bushnell 13 August 2021 132
Coast traffic on Nelligan bridge

Coast traffic on Nelligan bridge on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Kellie Whittington.

If you’re one of those Canberrans who fled the capital as soon as the COVID lockdown was announced, shame on you.

Yesterday afternoon a convoy of vehicles lined the Kings Highway on the way to their coastal bolt holes or hastily booked accommodation to wait out some or all of the seven-day period.

Sure, you may not have been anywhere near the list of contact sites, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t come into contact with someone else who was.

This is delta, super transmissible, a threat to young and old alike, and even in some cases vaccine-resistant.

How will you feel if you start to show symptoms in a few days and realise that due to your selfishness, this dangerous variant has made its way to the South Coast, expanding the virus’s reach?

What part of the Chief Minister’s message to go home and stay there didn’t you understand?

Why did you feel you were exempted from doing what the rest of Canberra felt obliged to do?

Didn’t you consider what the people of the South Coast might think about a sudden influx of people from the latest COVID hot spot?

When your lot swamped testing sites on the coast when you got down there yesterday, didn’t you realise that your actions undermined the very purpose of the lockdown?

And just because you might be lucky to have a holiday home down there doesn’t make you a local, no matter how much you might say you’re supporting struggling local businesses.


READ MORE: COVID-lockdown panic buying sets in across Canberra, toilet paper the first target


Canberrans had been counting their blessing while the other capitals and regions succumbed to lockdowns, with some even joking that the much-maligned bubble was keeping us safe.

But many of us, and the government, knew that it was becoming harder and harder to avoid the fallout from Sydney where ‘go early, go hard’ has been spurned for a peculiarly NSW approach.

How’s that working for you, Gladys?

Mr Barr wasn’t about to make the same mistake and could not have been any clearer about what Canberrans needed to do.

The only issue is why he left the lockdown until 5:00 pm, giving the entitled plenty of time to beat it to the coast.

OK, there may be practical reasons to give people some reasonable notice, but COVID flight seems to be a recurring theme of lockdown announcements as people flee to safe havens, unaffected areas or other states.

You might even still work from down there, and I bet the laptop was one of the first things packed.

Hell, being a forward-thinking organised Canberran usually relied on to hit your targets, you may have been already kitted up, ready to go when the inevitable happened.

Enjoy your freedom but remember this: it’s not just taking COVID with you that’s possible, you could also bring it back.

All in this together?

Note that some of the ones you left behind have kept their dignity.

The panic shopping that marked yesterday afternoon was ridiculous.

queues in coles Woden past the toilet paper

Canberrans rushed to the supermarkets despite being told that supermarkets will remain stocked throughout the lockdown. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Being told there was no need to stock up seemed only to feed the fervour as frantic shoppers poured into supermarkets, forming long queues.

So you may want to toss an extra pack of loo paper in the 4WD before heading back, just in case.


What's Your Opinion?


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132 Responses to Fleeing lockdown? What were you thinking?
Matthew Lippiatt-Sidman Matthew Lippiatt-Sidman 7:09 pm 16 Aug 21

More people who just don't get it. Very disappointing

Gregory Mark Gregory Mark 12:49 pm 16 Aug 21

Pity those with ACT plates who were already down the coast before the lockdown and are now stigmatized by the actions of the unworthy .

    Mark Oz Mark Oz 12:53 pm 16 Aug 21

    Gregory Mark Yes, Gregory - let's hope the NSW police have a way of identifying the Canberrans who were already there ... still it won't stop people from jumping to conclusions.

Evil_Kitten Evil_Kitten 9:40 pm 14 Aug 21

Do you think they’re all rushing back now that all of NSW is in lockdown? lol!

Gail D Gillin Gail D Gillin 9:17 pm 14 Aug 21

Sadly this isn’t the only irresponsible behaviour on display in ACT. Drove past Narrabundah oval on Cpt Cook this arvo. About 15 cars and 30 odd young people “exercising”. Ovals supposed to be closed.

Oiledpengu Oiledpengu 5:45 pm 14 Aug 21

Why is anyone surprised at this? Look at what Sydney siders have been up to in so called lockdown. People won’t stay put no matter what penalties you put in place.

Tara Jameson Tara Jameson 9:27 am 14 Aug 21

14 days under stay-at-home orders once they get there; 14 more days under stay-at-home orders once they return. Versus seven days of lockdown. They really didn’t think this through, did they?

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 6:03 am 14 Aug 21

Don't forget that there have been Canberran tourists travelling on the roads around Australia or around on inter/intra state trips. Be careful not to persecute those with ACT plates that are on long term road trips

    Mark Oz Mark Oz 6:00 pm 14 Aug 21

    Hmmmm, Cary Elliot Johnson, if they were already on roads around Australia, they wouldn’t be leaving Canberra would they? Duh!

    Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 6:16 pm 14 Aug 21

    Mark Oz duh, im talking about those already down the coast. Duh😆It's the coasties that are annoyed with Canberrans down there.

Kylie Hynes Kylie Hynes 4:37 am 14 Aug 21

So refreshing having some one really tell it like it is thank you .

Kylie Tinnock Kylie Tinnock 8:55 pm 13 Aug 21

Typical Canberrans! Think they can do whatever they want when it suits them and stuff the damage/ harm it causes others

    Michael Smallman Michael Smallman 11:32 pm 13 Aug 21

    Kylie Tinnock not just Canberrans have you seen western Sydney. This is just Human nature unfortunately.

    Anna Preinbergs Anna Preinbergs 5:23 pm 14 Aug 21

    Seriously? Not everyone from Canberra are like that. Some of us actually support you guys. Feel free to think about that in future. Yes I am in Canberra and no I have not left here to flee there. Seeing these comments judging everyone is horrible.

    Mark Oz Mark Oz 6:18 pm 14 Aug 21

    Kylie Tinnock: While I condemn the selfish attitude of these Canberrans, this pales compared to the self-indulgent entitled Sydneysiders who have now plunged NSW as a whole into lockdown. Some perspective please - the majority of Canberrans are doing the right thing, just like the majority of Sydneysiders

Kim Ulrick Kim Ulrick 8:40 pm 13 Aug 21

I was disgusted by this behaviour

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:21 pm 13 Aug 21

There’s an obvious revenue opportunity here for a cash-strapped government which will be running up more debt to cover the costs of this outbreak – apply the empty house rates penalty, on a pro-rata basis, to homes which are left vacant when the owners nick off from Canberra to avoid a bit of inconvenience.

We have no shortage of informants who would probably be itching to provide details to the ACT Revenue Office.

Meg Cavanagh Meg Cavanagh 6:50 pm 13 Aug 21

Bloody selfish idiots, shame on you.

Jacquie Walton Jacquie Walton 5:45 pm 13 Aug 21

Hope the police are down there booking all ACT rego's (who dont have a legitimate excuse from being a muppet)

Alison Penney Alison Penney 5:30 pm 13 Aug 21

Very disappointing, Canberrans. What about lockdown don’t you understand????? Well I’m doing the right thing and that’s all I can do!

    Lina Costa Lina Costa 6:06 pm 13 Aug 21

    I read that cars coming back to Canberra from the Coast, they saw many many Canberra cars driving to the Coast. How selfish they could spread the virus down there not knowing they had it. Lock down means stay home, not go on a holiday, selfish people.

    Glenn Kilpatrick Glenn Kilpatrick 9:16 pm 14 Aug 21

    Lina Costa to add some perspective to this there are two bus loads of people from Batemans Bay that travel to Canberra and back nearly every day of the week. A large percentage of these people go to Canberra for medical treatment and return same day. Strangely enough I have never seen any uproar about that or the risk of bringing COVID back to the community. There was not a mass arrival of Canberra plates in the Bay on the day lockdown in ACT started or since. Outside of the weekend I would fully expect more residents travel from the South coast to Canberra than vice versa any given day. I call the Bay home but spend a lot of time in Canberra for work. I’m really over the “bring out the pitchfork”brigade against Canberrans from South Coast residents. Blue and white plates stick out down here and cop bad flack. NSW plates that could very well be from Sydney or other highly infected areas do not.

Penny Cooke Penny Cooke 5:09 pm 13 Aug 21

It’s a week maybe two not a year. Don’t people keep a pantry of dry goods and non perishables especially after last year? No shelves in the laundry for toilet paper, etc?

    Heidi Varis Heidi Varis 7:21 am 14 Aug 21

    Some people live from pay to pay and stocking a full pantry would be a struggle and with a family of five, some of us don’t have a shelf in our laundry for toilet paper! We do have a few rolls on top of our loo but I have not so fond memories of last year when we had no toilet paper in our house for almost a weeks with toilet training (twin) 3 year olds…We did, however refrain from panic buying but I can understand others who did. I didn’t go because I saw a fast forward to 10 days where all those supermarkets are now suddenly hotspots.

    Maya123 Maya123 12:39 am 15 Aug 21

    People don’t have to buy all the stock at once. A few tins, an extra packet of toilet paper and slowly increase the stock. Best done when things are on special. That’s what I do. I bought several packets of porridge recently at 50% off for example. You say people can’t afford this, but suddenly they can now, when it’s not on special and will cost more.

Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 5:00 pm 13 Aug 21

Why would you leave the platinum standard of the ACT covid response to flee to the gold standard of NSW?

    Tara Jameson Tara Jameson 9:23 am 14 Aug 21

    Phillip Scharf “gold standard”?! 😀 Surely you mean “rusted old junk standard”?

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 6:45 pm 14 Aug 21

    Tara Jameson I figure it must be an arbitrary measure, diamonds, platinum... There must be a lot of other precious metal/gems above find of that is the standard set by NSW.

Sonja Abernathy Sonja Abernathy 4:45 pm 13 Aug 21

Oh and on their way down the coast they stopped in Bungendore and Braidwood and cleaned out the shops and probably left a dose of the covid for us too.

Sharron Connor Sharron Connor 4:34 pm 13 Aug 21

If they booked accommodation, they should have been refused. Anyway, most schools dont finish till 3, so they would have to have sped or gotten down there just after 5.

Emma Hanna Emma Hanna 4:29 pm 13 Aug 21

Absolutely selfish & disgraceful behaviour. 🤬😣

Nick Savino Nick Savino 4:05 pm 13 Aug 21

Ian Bushnell yeh right so how many went ??

    Jon Rooks Jon Rooks 1:52 pm 15 Aug 21

    Lots. See the photo at the top of the article.

    Nick Savino Nick Savino 2:00 pm 15 Aug 21

    Jon Rooks bridge works going on it was stated by someone prior in this article

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