“You never like to think you’re going to have to do it again but you have to prepare yourself… and when we started seeing things get worse, we wanted to be back there, because we knew that was a safer place to be,” says Simon.
Although he knows it’s the best place to be, going back in to lockdown comes with mixed emotions.
“It’s easier because you know you’ve done it before but then it’s harder for those same reasons.”
Simon, and wife Jackie own a chain of sandwich bars, called Earl Canteen in Melbourne’s CBD. Having now closed four of their six sites, the couple are making the most of the increased time they can spend together as a family, while ensuring their four and eight year-old children have routine.
“We cook a lot as a family – the kitchen has always been the place where we spend time and find routine,” says Simon.
Simon says the family are very fortunate in that they can still go for walks and work.
“We are trying to take it easy, while taking the opportunity to hibernate and enjoy our time together.”
And of course – there is an opportunity to tick off some things that weren’t achieved in the first lockdown, says Simon.
“I’ve been running every day of lockdown round two and have stuck to it for 14 days straight now.”
It’s one of the things Simon wants to achieve/do/be mindful of this time round.
“This time, it’s about making sure that it doesn’t get too overwhelming for the kids. We turn the news off and don’t make it such a focus.”
Normalising things like wearing masks, is also part of their new routine.
“I can’t change it. You can only deal with the cards you’ve got and you can’t wish it away, so you’ve got to look for the positives,” says Simon.
For Simon, keeping busy helps him to get through. He counts himself really lucky that he can still work.
“It’s important to get up in the morning and have a sense of purpose.”
“It is harder the second time around. But the hardest part about it is not knowing what the end game will be because nobody knows.”
The father of two finds it reassuring to look across the ditch and see how New Zealand is tracking.
“It is heartening for me to turn the television on a Saturday evening and to be able to watch a game of Super Rugby. I know that might sound odd but it’s about seeing a crowd in the stands, the lights on and things back to normal. It just shows that this will pass.”
Given Simon previously travelled back to New Zealand at least three times a year, he is missing his family.
“For the last 23 years, I’ve been able to go back a lot. New Zealand will always be home and so it’s the knowledge that you can’t go back now that is the hardest. Family is the big thing you miss.”