Aussies across the country are waiting with bated breath to ring out the year 2020 with gusto after an unprecedented year of disease and natural disaster.
It won’t however, be quite the New Year’s celebrations we’ve all become used to, particularly for those in Victoria, after a government spokesperson warned against indulging in everyone’s favourite New Year’s Eve tradition – the midnight smooch.
Not only that, the good people of the country’s second-largest city are also urged to carry hand-sanitiser on their person wherever they go, and keep a mask handy if they find themselves caught in a crowd.
“Just as Christmas was a little different this year, New Year's Eve will be too,” a spokesperson for the Victorian government said in a statement.
“Take some hand sanitiser with you, don't share drinks with others and kisses and hugs should be shared with those in your immediate family.”
Yep, that means your midnight kiss as well, so you’ll have to say goodbye to that handsome stranger and satisfy yourself with platonic cheek bumps with your immediate family.
The news should come as no surprise as governments continue to urge people to abide by social distancing and hygiene rules during as the silly season as Sydney tries to contain the Northern Beaches outbreak, and Victoria celebrates two months of zero community transmission after their months-long stage four lockdown.
Maintaining 1.5 metres social distancing, sanitising and wearing a mask in crowds means locking lips with a stranger should be impossible if you’re following the rules.
In Melbourne, the city has also canned their classic fireworks display, replacing it with a New Year Street Feast in the CBD.
In Sydney, the fireworks display will go ahead at a much scaled-back level, and with viewing sights’ capacity heavily limited as the total number of cases linked to the Northern Beaches cluster reaches 116.
Despite Sydney’s current coronavirus climate, which includes strict lockdown rules on the city’s Northern Beaches, over the weekend some were left concerned by scenes at shopping centres and beaches as Sydneysiders flocked to soak up the sun and cash in on Boxing Day sales in defiance of pleas from authorities to stay home.
It comes after a tumultuous year for Aussies between bushfires, the pandemic and plenty more destruction and disaster.
As we look back on the years that’s been, we’re allowing ourselves a giggle or two as we remember the crazy fashion choices that had us turning heads, the conspiracy theories that did the rounds, and the celebrity moments that kept us smiling.
With additional reporting by Brooke Rolfe.
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