Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday engaged in a lengthy defence of the curfew imposed on Melburnians.
Amongst other things Mr Andrews argued that, with just four reasons to go out, he was not sure that allowing people the ability to leave home at night to do those things would make much difference.
We thought we would ask readers what they thought and got a huge response.
Broadly readers fall into two camps – those who point to useful things they would like to do if the curfew was away and those who say it makes no difference and is likely good policy in the circumstances. We'll give you a flavour of these two groups in the story below, we couldn't reproduce all the responses received as there were more than 500 in just a couple hours.
Shopping, running, walking the dog
These were some of the common things people cited when describing how they would make use of the time.
I often would do the grocery shopping after 8pm as my husband and I both still work so by the time we finish, pick up my son from childcare, cook dinner and get my son to bed it's already past curfew. The supermarkets are also a lot quieter at that time which is a bonus!
Might go to the supermarket when there are fewer people around
Walk after dinner for 1 hr of exercise when few people out (lower risk)
There are a significant number of persons working in construction that cannot function within the lockdown hours. People leave their homes at 5 am (and earlier) and return home between 6:30 and 8 pm. What quality of life do these people have? The people who have worked all the way through the lockdown, worn a mask, social distanced followed the ever increasing number of restrictions etc and cannot even go home and go for a walk, or even go shopping for essentials because its too late – people cannot go and enjoy time with family because its 'too late'. It is absolutely ridiculous not to give consideration to these situations – myself and many hundreds of others are in the same situation. It has been extremely challenging and mentally exhausting to work with the restrictions, let alone having to go home and do more of the same. My co workers are all challenged and the stress and strain and mental issues are visibly evident.
Take my infant child out for a drive to go to sleep -its the only way he will settle.
I would do nothing different and continue to follow the stay at home rules. BUT removal of the "curfew" would remove me of a very weighty psychological burden and add just a little hope in what appears to be an almost hopeless situation which those of us who are obeying the instructions can do no more to assist.
Go to the shops and walk my dog after 8:00 once my three children are in bed and my husband is home from work.
Because I am a vulnerable person, I avoid going to supermarkets as much as possible. So far, I have order most of my groceries online for home delivery but they require a minimum spend of $50 plus a delivery charge. Without a curfew, I could do my own shopping late at night when it is safer.
My Brother often can't get away from the desk by 8pm, meaning no excerise for him or my 11 year old neice, sometimes they can go for a quick 20 minutes around lunchtime, but it's having a very negative impact on them, including the Dog. My sister in law would like to go the supermarket at 10pm, not when it's busy. My neice has developed anxiety that her patents will get arrested if something happens and they're not home by 8pm. So what would I do without Curfew? Stop worrying about the mental health and well being of my family.
Often I will work at my desk from 8am to 8pm. With a curfew in place, it means some days I can't even exercise or go for a walk. One day a few weeks ago I got fewer than 1000 steps because of Dan. I was a veritable mushroom!
The dog would get a walk! By the time the working day is finished, the kids are fed and in bed, it's time to walk the dog. That's about 8pm.
Absolutely nothing. It makes no difference to me – I certainly don't need to exercise in the dark and I can go to the supermarket before 8pm. Work outside of curfew is permitted anyway. This change is not one that would make a difference. Extending the social bubble to everyone being able to nominate a household would be far more beneficial but it would be nigh on possible to police.
Walk the dog. I have two young children, often the only time I have to myself is once they’re both in bed (by 7.30ish usually). Especially now the weather is getting warmer and it’s staying lighter later.
Go for a walk after a full day or work and having fed my family. And be able to run to the supermarket in the limited time I have in my day.
Be able to shop in a less populous time of the day – Once we put our young one to bed we only have a small window of opportunity of about half an hour to shop, which is enough time to pick up what we need without being able to do a longer shop, resulting in more frequent visits to the supermarkets – imagine being able to spread that last minute rush of people over a longer time.
I work long days,often finishing work at 7pm, 8pm or even later. On those days I would go for an evening walk or jog if there were no curfew. With the curfew in place I can go several days in a row without exercising. The point is not just about the curfew, it's about the restriction of our civil liberties in a disproportionate way.
After a day of work, assisting kids with school work and managing the house, it would be nice to take my precious hour of exercise when I choose (as is the case in all other democratic societies), not when I am told I should take it. If I need to go to the chemist, the shop or any other place of essential supplies then I could also do that. The curfew is rubbish!
I would go running/walking near my home. Before curfew I used to do this roughly between 10pm and midnight. Where I live there is too much traffic during the day and I would definitely come into contact with too many people. I admit I could probably exercise in similar conditions at 5am instead but that would require some major readjustments to my working and sleeping hours. There's also a noticeable rush around 7pm at my local supermarket. I could avoid this if I could shop a bit later.
Go for an evening walk- be nice to have it until at least 10pm. Used to grocery shop between 9 and 10 when it was quiet. Pick up takeaway
I would be able to do a midnight maccas run
The starting point is that the question is wrong. In a free society we are allowed to do what we wish, essentially as long as we do not interfere with the rights of others. In the pandemic we need to accept that some of our rights will be curtailed, but only those directly relevant and required to reduce the spread of the disease – this is not an opportunity to curtail rights just because it makes the police's job easier. The police's motto is 'Uphold the right' – this does not mean 'uphold the government's right to trample people's freedom'. If the question becomes 'what do we do to make the police's job easier' then there is no need to limit the question to times of pandemic or other emergency situation and soon we all wear tracking devices and we have to explain everything we do to the police. In any case, if there was no curfew, after I finish work and get my children tucked into bed – always after 9pm – I would go for a walk around my block (contently wearing my mask, protecting my rights and the rights of others to be free from illness). It has been the way I finished many a long day and has never done anyone any harm – and won't, even in a pandemic. And, if I haven't be able to do my shopping during the day, I would pick up my milk and bread – and maybe a treat or the paper – from the convenience store and pick up my medicine from the pharmacy.
My son has a part-time job at McDonald's. With the curfew, his shifts end at 8:00PM. Without the curfew he and many others would be able to work longer shifts and work more shifts.
Walk the dogs after dinner
After dinner walk Grocery shopping after dinner, after most WFH have to work 9am – 6pm.
I would move my walks back tonight. I love my late night walks especially in the cold of winter. I love the quiet of the night the fog hovering above the lake and the icy cold fresh air.
I'd go to the supermarket. I've got a toddler at home and my partner is pregnant, and sick and exhausted from growing a fetus and working. Between 7.30 and 5.00pm I'm working/minding toddler, at 5.00 I take toddler out for a walk, feed her at 5.30 – 6.00. 6.30 bath, 7.15 bed. Then I cook us dinner. No time for the supermarket :/
Could visit my girlfriend on weeknights like I used to. We can only see each other on weekends now.
Coming from another perspective a large number of readers indicated that they would simply stay home if the curfew was lifted but other restrictions were still in place meaning it made no difference to them. Many also expressed support for the policy
Currently with community transmissions out there, (I live in Wyndham) I would not be venturing out, even with no curfew. I would not go shopping or to cinemas, restaurants or bars. Staying home restricts person to person transmission so I am happy for the curfew to stay until we have this thing under better control. I suspect my lack of confidence is widely shared so businesses would not get back all their pre-covid customers anyway.
Exactly what I'm doing now. Not much.
Basically nothing different. The curfew doesn't affect me while restaurants aren't open and I can't see friends. The curfew is a low cost enforcement measure in my view.
Nothing would have changed so i think curfew must be in place just to deter people from doing the wrong thing and breaching lockdown rules
Nothing, I would still STAY HOME. People are dying! What is it about “reducing the movement of people…AKA potential virus” don’t people get?
Nothing would change – it's not like we can go out for dinner, go to the pub for a beer or visit friends.
Nothing. Who needs to be out after 8 pm if you’re not working? Fully support continuing it. Why change a winning strategy?
I would do nothing differently. Genuinely straining my brain wondering why reporters need to labor the point that does not need to be made. If you're getting a kebab at 3am you deserve to be fined.
Stay at home.
Absolutely nothing. Everybody has the opportunity to run the required errands between 5am and 8pm. from home or before or after work. If you can't – get organised! Very happy with the curfew as it is – during the pandemic.
Nothing. This is a ridiculous line of questioning
Lifting the curfew would not have changed anything for me. I fully support the curfew as it has the ability to stop people throwing parties at night and congregating. You can’t expect the police to check on every single person’s movements/activities. I find it appalling why people are so annoyed about nightly curfew when you can’t go out for any reason other than the four we know about. I can give an example about Sri Lanka (population of 23 million) the country was in complete lockdown for about two months, not even supermarkets were open, there were food delivery trucks instead, and today they are fully open and there’s no community transmission. They too had nightly curfews when they started easing restriction. Not a single protest was seen. Australians should realise how lucky they are to have what they have.
Nothing! I would stay at home
Seriously, where would people go after 8 pm?????
Absolutely nothing. Having a curfew is a tiny sacrifice with big benefits in catching the people doing the wrong thing.
Removing curfew would not affect most of us at all, it's more about those youths that want to wonder out for a night life which there ain't any at the moment. I don't like the way Dan handled quite a few issues with this virus, but we SHOULD keep the curfew while we are in stage 4 restriction.
Nothing. There’s nowhere to go?
Nothing, it literally makes no difference to me. I'm supportive of the curfew.
Thank you to all the readers who took the time to write in.
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