There is no doubt that we are living in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has challenged us to believe in a new normal.
Popping into a café for a coffee is a covert mission, which needs detailed planning and a different approach depending upon where you go.
That is just the start of our daily challenges. Some people are dealing with these challenges better than others are; let us call them the good, the bad and the numpties.
The majority of small business owners are doing their absolute best to keep their doors open under COVID safe conditions. It has been encouraging since the announcement relating to the extension of Job keeper that small business owners can see some small light at the end of the tunnel and are doing everything they can to hang on.
Read more: One woman's story of life after covid
I have spoken to small businesses who have had visits from the COVID virus and they are devastated. Through no fault of their own, someone wandered in off the street and changed their lives forever even though they were doing everything in their power to trade COVID safe.
This could happen to anyone and no doubt will. If it happens in a business which is not COVID safe, it could be devastating not just for that businesses but for all of us. We need to support small business owners who are doing the right thing and vote with our feet for those who are not.
One of the massive and unexpected recent wins was the return of community sport. Kids who have had such a dysfunctional year being back running around the fields with their friends. Win, lose or draw what a great result. My kids are involved in two local clubs, Warilla Wanderers and Corrimal Cougars, and I have seen first-hand the effort so many volunteers have put it to give our kids the chance to enjoy a little piece of normality.
It is up to us now, as parents, not to put that effort to waste. Like everything else we do, conditions have changed and new rules are in place. We do not all need to sit on half way in each other's pockets. There are two sides to most fields and there are many opportunities to spread out, giving our kids the chance to keep playing. Take the time to say thank you to the volunteers making all of this possible. Not make them question why they bother.
We all know businesses who are not playing the COVID game and they are putting every single small business in the country at risk.
We turn on the news and see lines outside of hotels, we see protest marches going on against police advice and as we go about our daily lives we see businesses cramming in as many people as they can possibly fit, pretending that we are not in the midst of a pandemic.
If you own a small business, you have a friend or relative who does or god forbid, you just have some common sense and don't want to return to lockdown, vote with your feet and don't support small businesses who are not COVID safe.
We are only as strong as our weakest link and irresponsible businesses can bring us back to restrictions and destroy the economy in no time.
I know many great people named Karen so I would prefer to call the downright ugly people "numpties".
Numpties abusing Bunnings staff about their constitutional rights, numpties abusing police for not being where they are supposed to be, numpties getting on flights and signing false paperwork to travel interstate (that was a doozy which will likely end up in three young girls serving time at her majesty's pleasure).
I am no medical expert and I have never warn a mask in my life but a great mate of mine Macca has been campaigning for masks to be compulsory and I'm quickly coming around to his reasoning.
If it ever came down to a choice between small business being shut down again and wearing masks in public, I have no doubt, which I would choose.
Do not be a numptie. Respect the heath advice, support small businesses doing the right thing and let's continue to do everything in our power to get through this together.
It most certainly isn't over yet.
Mark Seigh is the general manager of Destination Wollongong
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