4 August 2020

Probing the polls: bike tracks, lockdown and face masks

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Bronwyn Napiorkowski

Bronwyn Napiorkowski, who grew up in Bega and now lives in Melbourne, models one of her handmade facemasks. Photo: Supplied.

Of all the consequences of COVID-19, more time for kids to muck around and make their own fun outside was perhaps not envisaged, least of all by the ACT Government.

But around Canberra, stick houses and bike jumps have mushroomed in local parks as people make their own fun in the great outdoors.

Tim Gavel has one near his house, and wrote last week about ‘Canberra’s most dangerous sports facility’.

“The bushland around Canberra has become a gymnasium with people jumping over fallen trees, doing press-ups against trees or simply walking or running.

“The creation and building of their own sports facilities such as the BMX track in Ainslie takes it a step further and it’s exactly what we want our kids to be doing,” Tim wrote.

READ MORE Canberra’s most dangerous sports facility

But at the time of writing, the local kids were petitioning the ACT Government to prevent the homemade BMX track from disappearing.

We asked Should locals kids be allowed to make their own fun without a supervising government hand?

A huge number of you voted in response – 1819 in all. Your options were to vote No, it sounds great, but someone needs to be the responsible adult. This received just 7 per cent of the total, or 123 votes.

Alternatively, you could vote Yes, let the kids have their fun, it’s all part of childhood. This received a whopping 93 per cent of the whole, or 1696 votes.

This week, we’re wondering where you stand on the question of masks.

As the Victorian COVID-19 crisis becomes ever more alarming, the NSW Government is strongly encouraging people to wear masks, but at the time of writing, this isn’t mandatory.

In the ACT, we’re being told that wearing masks is a sensible precaution. There have been no new COVID-19 diagnoses in Canberra since July 10 and none in surrounding NSW communities.

READ MORE Canberrans face up to wearing masks in public

There’s been a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in Wagga Wagga, the Victorian border is closed and the spread in Sydney is being watched with trepidation. However, no new cases resulted from fears that club-goers on the South Coast may have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive traveller.

Canberrans have been strongly advised not to travel unless for essential purposes.

Health Minister Rachael Stephen-Smith and Chief Minister Andrew Barr have described face masks as “the fourth line of defence”, after physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying home if you are unwell.

But that could well change if the virus erupts closer to home.

“ACT residents, particularly those unable to physically distance in their daily work or daily activities, are now encouraged to prepare for a time where wearing a face mask becomes another part of how we respond to the threat of COVID-19,” Mr Barr said.

“If we start to see cases in areas immediately surrounding the ACT, or we start to get new cases in Canberra, then wearing a face mask in public will feature as part of our response.”

Our question for you this week is:

Should masks be mandatory in the ACT as a preventive measure?

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