As parts of the state emerged from lockdown at 12:01am on September 11, families lovingly reunited, friends came together once again, and a number of regional communities including the Clarence Valley enjoyed increased freedoms following weeks of limited movements and stay-at-home orders.
The Clarence Valley Independent recently caught up with a few locals and visitors to the area and asked them how they planned to spend their first days post-lockdown, and what they were most looking forward to.
Sandra and Emilee Paricova: We live just south of Coffs Harbour, and as soon as we heard the lockdown was going to be lifted, we immediately started phoning our friends and family in Grafton and Maclean and organised to come and visit them. Even though we’ve been staying in regular contact with them, and I call my sister in Maclean daily on FaceTime, there is absolutely nothing that compares to physically seeing and hugging your friends and family and holding them in your arms. Seeing the people we love was definitely at the top of our list.
Samantha Ksy: My sister got a puppy before we all had to go into lockdown, so on the weekend I finally got to go and meet her. She was pretty cute, but she’d grown a lot since my sister got her, so I was pretty sad I didn’t get to see her when she was still really little.
Maddison Gough: I went to the beach in Yamba straight away. I love going to the beach. My boyfriend told me I needed to get a tan as well.
Peter Dutton: I was just happy enough to go to the pub and have a few beers.
Shaynah Liddle: It’s good that most of NSW isn’t in lockdown anymore, but I want to go to Sydney to visit my family, and I still can’t do that. That’s all I want to do when the lockdown finally ends, but I’m still waiting.
Hrisi Vindjahl: I live in Woolgoolga, so it was good that lockdown was stopped so I could go to Yamba and see some of my friends.
Liza Burton: It was lovely to go out with some of my friends and be allowed to sit down at a café and enjoy coffee together. It’s also good to show our support to our smaller businesses in Grafton because they’ve endured a very hard time. I would like to tell everyone to go out and support our local businesses because they rely heavily on us to keep going.
Jaz Khilinnan: My dad and I went to the beach at Wooli and had fish and chips because we couldn’t do that on Father’s Day. It was sort of a late Father’s Day lunch.
Xaviar Flynn-Bletchley: I live in Taree. I drove my mum to Coffs Harbour so she could see my aunts and my nan, and I decided to catch up with my mates in South Grafton while my mum can spend time having her girly catch ups.
Yvie Fraser: It’s just nice to be able to live without restrictions again. I just feel free to be able to do what I want.