Yesterday was a really joyful day for our congregation. After over a year of disruption — a time during which we had suspended worship services or worship services where only part of the congregation could gather — finally we were able to gather together twice with the whole church. For this blessing, we praise God!
Things are now basically back to normal in Tasmania. There’s still hand sanitizer everywhere, of course. The odd time you’ll see someone wearing a mask (they’ve never been mandatory here). At the moment, there are some concerns about a few COVID cases in Brisbane. Brisbane is locked down for three days and there are restrictions on travel to Tassie from there. Aside from that, life goes on as usual. There hasn’t been a case of community transmission here for well over 300 days.
As I’ve said before, there were measures taken early on in the pandemic which put us in this good position. The state and federal governments put in hard border closures and aggressive lockdowns. There’s a rigorous system of hotel quarantine for incoming international travellers. This system hasn’t been foolproof, but it’s worked well enough to catch most cases. Here in Tasmania a state election has just been called for May 1. Premier Peter Gutwein is banking on his pandemic success to lead his party to another majority. The polls show that the odds are in his favour.
What about vaccinations? The urgency isn’t here that you find in other parts of the world. At the moment, just over 12,500 Tasmanians have received at least one dose — 2.3% of the population.
I still think of how things are so different elsewhere. Almost every day I watch the news from Canada and I feel for my native land. I especially think of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I noticed that in my old stomping grounds of Hamilton the city has just gone into another lockdown where churches can only have 15% of capacity. How frustrating that must be. We’re praying for you! May God soon grant everyone the kind of normalcy we’re blessed with here already.