Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

Freedom Day for bad nails and shaggy hair in Queanbeyan

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But ACT remains closed to business.

news, latest news, nsw freedom day, covid, covid-19 lockdown, act lockdown, canberra lockdown

2021-10-11T18: 25: 00 + 11: 00

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https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6276537247001

Freedom Day in NSW, but not in ACT – an opinion

When David Tutalo arrived to open the Royal Barber Shop in Queanbeyan at the beginning of Freedom Day, 10 men were waiting to have their locklock cut off.

His scissors just did not stop clicking. Murray Masters in the chair said he had looked like a shabby dog.

“It’s such a relief,” said the store owner at the end of two months without business.

“Crispy. Cracked. Sad,” Kristie Edwards said of her nails before getting them sorted at the New York Nail Spa.

“I have not been without fake nails for 20 years until now.”

David Tutalo and customer Murray Masters at the Royal Barber Shop.  Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

David Tutalo and customer Murray Masters at the Royal Barber Shop. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

“I feel like myself again,” Kate Ellis said, boasting her renewed bright orange nails.

“Fantastic. Words can’t describe it,” Nicole Oakley said, holding toddlers Wyatt as they came out of Kmart.

“Just being out of the house and with other people.”

Stores required proof of dual vaccination. No reported resistance. Many people learned and re-learned their MyGov passwords right outside the door to get the certificate.

“I did not know I needed it, so I spent five minutes downloading it,” Sarah Kime said.

Her two boys were excited because they were not used to being outside the home, she said.

“I was pretty happy to do it. I can’t wait until I get my toddlers to do it,” the mother said.

The parking lot shared by Kmart and Woolworths was blocked. It was back to the old world of sailing for a space – some of the more tired shoppers said the return of laughable disputes would not be far behind.

In the middle of the morning, Kmart was as full as on a busy Saturday.

The places where you really felt the relief were the stores where human contact was important.

The New York Nail Spa had a full appointment book until the end of the week. Manager Tom Nguyen was so excited to open that he could not sleep.

Kate Ellis and nails.  Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Kate Ellis and nails. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Anglicare buzz – and it showed one of the psychological costs of lockdown, said manager Nadine Genero.

People used to get into the business before the lockdown closed the main part of the store, and only the smaller department worked to provide cheap food to those who needed it.

“People come in for shopping, but also for a chat,” the manager said.

“A lot of people felt more isolated. We had a lady who came begging to get her books. She said all she needed were books.”

Anglicare Queanbeyan mentors Nadia Genero with volunteers Cathy Sellick, Jeanette Brewer and Beverley Krebs.  Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Anglicare Queanbeyan mentors Nadia Genero with volunteers Cathy Sellick, Jeanette Brewer and Beverley Krebs. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The store provided money for the needy and that collection was stopped.

“I was pretty excited but also nervous,” the manager said. No one had had a hard time proving their vaccination status, she said, “I was worried people were crazy, but so far no problem.”

The ACT should ease some of its restrictions by the end of the week, but even then the rules will not be quite the same.

And this week, the border on the bridge to Queanbeyan feels real.

It’s not quite like crossing the old Berlin Wall, but there’s definitely a different vibe on each side. While the Canberra center remains ghostly, the shops in Queanbeyan buzzed. The traffic on the streets was back to its old volume.

Sarah Kime and Charlie and Finn visited the reopened Kmart.  Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Sarah Kime and Charlie and Finn visited the reopened Kmart. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

In theory, the various rules allow Canberrans to sneak across the border this week and have a sneaky drink in a Queanbeyan pub, though the ACT government has warned of such mistakes.

Pubs checked that customers were double-vaccinated and had used the QR code, but their home address was not a top priority.

Customs officers were simply relieved to serve again.

“Just earning my own income and seeing the locals is great,” said Josh Puvinsky behind the bar at the Tourist Hotel.

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