After a petition highlighting the alienation faced by those without an intimate partner, Victoria’s health chief says a ‘friendship bubble’ for single households is being seriously considered.
A woman from Melbourne called for more gentle laws for singles during Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions in the state, saying individuals living alone are “uniquely disadvantaged”
Under Stage 4 limits, Melburnians are forbidden to drive further than 5 km from home and are only permitted to depart for four key reasons: treatment, shopping, exercise and important work.
They must also be home between 8 pm and 5 am hours.
That is, except that they have an intimate partner.
After initially banning romantic visits, during Stage 4 lockdown, Premier Daniel Andrews allowed intimate relations to travel to and from the home of their partner.
Although there are a few exceptions, Melbourne’s couples are among those with the most freedom of movement.
Approximately one quarter of Victorian households are single, with an additional number having single parents.
A petition launched by Dr. Gen Ford calling on the government of Andrews to grant lockdown allowances for singles has received more than 15,000 signatures.
Victorians have used the petition to share their own stories:
“My father-in-law is all alone after losing his wife to cancer during the first lockdown,” one wrote.
“He is grieving and suffering alone.
“A friend to visit would mean the world to him.”
“I’m single, live by myself and suffer from depression,” another said.
“My friends are my family, as my actual family lives in the UK and QLD.
“Having got to a really good place, before the pandemic, I feel I have taken a lot of steps backwards having to deal with the isolation of being in both Stage 3 and 4 lockdown.
“Being able to see someone, even just once a week, would make such a huge difference.”
“We know Victorians are resilient, but we have never faced a crisis quite like this one and I know there are a lot of people out there doing it tough right now,” he said.
“We want them to know that they are not alone.”