She then planned to spend four days driving back to Melbourne via Batemans Bay and Mallacoota with her mother, Kerrie. Mother and daughter were going to spend Christmas Day together in Melbourne.
Ms Anderson cancelled the entire trip on Friday because of fears the outbreak in Sydney would spread, and after realising the Victoria-NSW border may be closed or quarantine requirements in place by the time she was due to return home.
Ms Anderson posted on social media that she was “looking hard for a silver lining” and “sending love to everyone else feeling the repercussions of this cluster %#*%”.
And she told The Age it was crushing because Victorians had “sacrificed so much” in 2020. “I’m so sick of being told that I can’t see the people that I love. It’s just really heartbreaking,” she said.
She said there had been many tears on Friday when she cancelled the trip. “We feel like we’re back on square one. I don’t know when we can reschedule visits. 2020 just takes plans, chews them up and spits them out.”
The disruption was causing disappointment on the other side of the border too.
Ed Hunt, 52, of Tuggerah on the NSW central coast north of Sydney, has had to cancel a planned trip to Melbourne after Christmas. Mr Hunt said he and his wife had booked flights and accommodation in central Melbourne from December 28.
The couple had planned to watch the cricket test between Australia and India at the MCG and explore some of the city’s restaurants before flying home on January 3.
Mr Hunt said they cancelled on Sunday morning after the NSW central coast was declared a “red zone”, meaning the couple would have had to go into quarantine in Melbourne. In addition, due to the restrictions, his sister-in-law and her family can’t travel from their home in Queensland to visit the couple in Tuggerah, and his niece can’t come from Victoria. “It’s pretty upsetting but,” Mr Hunt said, “you’ve just got to accept it, and figure out something else”.
Others were similarly trying to keep the changed circumstances in perspective – even when they were forced to spend Christmas in self-isolation.
Chad Neylon, of Ringwood in Melbourne’s east, said he and partner Jess and their two-year-old son will not be able to visit Mr Neylon’s parents, sister, nieces and nephews in Perth for Christmas. They were going to spend two weeks there, after no-one seeing each other for nine months.
Mr Neylon’s WA government-approved pass needed to enter Western Australia was revoked 11 hours before he was due to fly to Perth. The ruling was made due to a two-day work trip Mr Neylon made to Terry Hills in Sydney’s northern beaches – he presents V8 supercars programs that screen on Fox Sports and the Seven network.
Mr Neylon returned to Melbourne from Sydney on Tuesday and was due to fly to Perth at 2.30pm on Friday, December 18.
But at 3.30am that morning, he received a note “that my pass had been revoked because I’d been in New South Wales”.
Mr Neylon must now also isolate at home for 14 days, meaning he can’t spend Christmas with his partner’s family in Melbourne.
“Even then, the rules say that I have to try and socially distance from my own family, in my own house, which is pretty funny.” He said Virgin airlines were “fantastic” and had refunded all the flight fares.
Mr Neylon said it was disappointing but he that he was trying to keep the situation in perspective. “It’s not the end of the world, it’s just a missed trip to go home. My first feeling was to laugh about it.”
He has been tested, and it came back negative. “But that doesn’t change the fact that I have another nine days of isolation, which includes Christmas.”
But he said many had it worse, so he wasn’t being negative about it. “It’s not the Christmas you wanted, but you look at what’s happening in country’s where it’s so much worse. There are people who are having Christmas this year that have lost people.”
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Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.