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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Day 49, Thursday 30th September (it has a slight ring to it).

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new month and excitingly sees the relaxation of minor restrictions in the ACT, namely the allowance of up to two visitors to a household. I am sure this will be welcome news to many. While reviewing these changes and studying the ‘Pathway Forward’ in further detail earlier today, I was reminded about the same process of when restrictions were being relaxed last year and the difficulties that emerged with each stage (particularly in a hospitality setting).

I was also reminded of the above image which must have been taken around early August; it was certainly within the first few weeks of when restrictions had eased and patrons were allowed to dine in restaurants - observing limited capacities, physical distancing and contract tracing methodology - and the first opportunity I had to catch up over a meal with some friends. As we were sharing our lockdown tales and discussing our future predictions, I couldn’t help but notice the restaurant booking diary sitting on the counter. Closed, the book would have been 2-3 inches thick and the edges of the pages, between the covers, told a very telling story: ruffled, blackened pages, followed by a thick row of clean edges and the beginnings of ruffled ones again. It exemplified a timeline of hospitality in 2020 in physical form (which has, sadly, been repeated again a year later).

Soon after this dinner I was reading an article pondering the question ‘what should museums and historical collections obtain to best represent 2020?’ The article went on and detailed the obvious items of hand sanitizer bottles, masks and other PPE, health warnings signs and posters, etc. It also, interestingly, told of how only a few objects remain from the Spanish Influenza outbreak, as after WWI and the pandemic people simply wanted to move on and forget. The restaurant booking diary, in my opinion, would make a perfect artefact to represent and help tell the story of Covid-19 (and it’s impact) in Australia for future generations