Some lucky Australians this weekend emerged, blinking in the sun, after more than a month in lockdown. Gary Nunn reports on that first celebration once out of lockdown.
With cases of Covid-19 falling in several states, some of the tightest restrictions have been lifted.
So where they could, people got out to enjoy Australia’s great outdoors, while others made the most of being able to see people they don’t live with.
Australia’s states and territories each have their own government and own coronavirus measures.
For those lucky enough to live in Western Australia, the two-person rule has been eased to a 10-person limit, indoors or out.
People there can now have up to nine of their mates around for that most Aussie of activities: a barbecue (with social distancing).
But Victoria – Australia’s second most populous state – remains in lockdown.
Here’s how some people celebrated their first weekend of relative freedom.
From ‘worst mum ever’ to the best
For Louanne Ward, the first weekend under a looser lockdown in Western Australia had a special twist.
The mother of two from Perth planned a big surprise 17th birthday party for her son, Parker.
His actual birthday, a pool party with 20 friends, was due take place on the first weekend of Australia’s lockdown in March – but was cancelled by his mum, despite his protests.
“Apparently I was the ‘world’s worst mum’ and clearly I have trust issues!” Louanne tells the BBC.
So Louanne “conspired” with her son’s best friend to arrange a big outdoor barbecue around a fire to heat up all the teens on the first autumnal Australian evening they could get together again.
The guest-list had to be brutally tight. In accordance with WA’s new rules, eight of Parker’s best mates were invited over.
“Picking them was tough!” his mum says. “He’s highly sociable – lockdown has been very challenging.”
Her plan was for him to “return from his beach walk to balloons, music, the fire roaring and eight of his best friends he hasn’t seen for weeks singing him happy birthday, dancing and doing backflips” she said before the event. “He has no idea!”
Although Louanne said she wouldn’t be insisting all attendees download Covid Safe, the government’s contact tracing app, she was planning to strictly monitor 1.5-metre social distancing.
In the end, the event was a huge success and went off without a hitch.
“We take so much for granted which we are all learning,” says Louanne.
“Celebrating a birthday and other special occasions are things we look forward to with expectation. When there are no expectations and you are purely present and in the moment there is something different in the way people respond.”
around the living room
In New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, restrictions eased only slightly: two (healthy) visitors are now allowed into your home to socialise.