12 August 2020

Probing the polls: mandatory masks and hard borders for some

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Police car

Should police stop all travellers at state borders? Photo: File.

As the pandemic rolls on, COVID-19-free Canberrans remain anxious about the risks posed should the virus arrive in the ACT.

Should we be proactive and require masks in public? The advice so far from ACT Health is that they’re not required although people who are vulnerable are advised to use them in crowded places.

Helen Morgan wrote “I have mine ready if needed’, although Heidi Greenthumb observed that “the staff at Woolworths, making bread and working in the deli etc are not wearing masks. Lots of people/staff handling food etc are not wearing masks around Canberra”.

Gabriel Spacca thought it was “Not a yes or no proposition. Masks should be made compulsory when conditions and the medical experts dictate they should”.

Our question was Should masks be mandatory in the ACT as a preventive measure? A total of 1,103 votes were cast and the split between was close

Your options were to vote No, there’s no need for that yet if we all stay sensible. This received 52 per cent of the total, or 578 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, better safe than sorry in a crisis (this received 48 per cent of the total, or 525 votes).

This week a remarkable situation developed at the Victorian border where dozens of Canberrans were stranded by last-minute changes to their entry permits, despite having sought and received all the necessary exemptions to the border closures.

READ ALSO They’re coming home! Border standoff for Canberrans comes to an end

But while the ACT Government offered to provide a police escort home to Canberra and increasingly desperate residents resorted to sleeping in their cars in the midwinter cold, politicians heading north for the next sitting of Federal Parliament with the same permits were able to transit through and are quarantining in Canberra ahead of the 24 August sitting date.

Chris Sant thought “Gladys is an absolute disgrace. Completely ridiculous to suggest that people who have been doing essential work in country Victoria should have to fly to Sydney (which would probably require driving to Melbourne), spend 14 days there, then somehow get themselves back to Canberra, having had to leave their car in Victoria”.

But Joel Benson said “So Barr is trying to let these people return from Victoria with no quarantine? In the Canberra Times it was reported one couple were in the Hume muncipality, which is in the top 5 Victorian hotspots. Rules are Rules. At least Gladys is now enforcing tough rules. Stay in bloody Victoria. Even if they did get through they should be forced into 14 days quarantine in a hotel at their own expense. Again something Gladys has introduced. Barr should hang his head in shame if they are allowed back, without this”.

Our question is:

Should anyone be allowed across the border in a time of pandemic?

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It’s all good to say “if we all stay sensible” but if everyone stayed sensible, we wouldn’t have had the Victoria outbreak. If everyone stayed sensible, there wouldn’t be at least three people on this mornings bus to work coughing and sneezing without taking proper precautions. Such as sneezing into your elbow or covering your cough. Hence I will wear a mask.
You can hope for the best in humanity, but you shouldn’t expect it, and you shouldn’t plan for it

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