As some Australians enter 6th lockdown, actress wonders how she will pay rent
Australian comedian Anna Piper Scott is tired of canceling shows.
Scott is an artist in Melbourne, Victoria, who entered his sixth lockdown on Thursday.
As of Friday, more than 60% of Australia’s 25 million citizens are locked up trying to contain an increase in the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
Instant closures, strict border controls and rapid contact tracing have helped Australia keep its coronavirus count relatively low, with just over 35,600 cases and 933 deaths. But recent stopping and starting blockages amid a slow rollout of vaccination, with only about 21% of people over 16 fully vaccinated, have frustrated residents.
Scott says she understands lockdowns are needed to stop the spread of COVID-19, but is frustrated by the slow roll-out of the vaccine in her country and what she saw as insufficient financial support for those without. use.
If things continue like this, she worries that she doesn’t have enough money to pay her rent and that she will have to quit acting altogether. Here is part of his conversation with As it happens guest host Katie Simpson.
Anna, can you believe Melbourne is in its sixth lockdown now?
I think we expected to be free for over a week. I think that’s what kind of pulled the rug out from under the people, which we barely pulled out before we were brought back inside again.
How are you?
Not great, I’ll be honest. I feel pretty abandoned by my government right now because I work as a comedian, I work as a performer, and I keep having concerts that are supposed to pay my rent just closed, ripped from me. Every time we’re locked up, it robs me of the ability to pay my rent. And it was very, very difficult. And there has been very little to no income support to cover that here in Australia.
At 9:30 p.m. tonight, I was going to do a sold-out comedy that would have paid for my next two months of rent. Suddenly all that money is gone. I know these lockdowns are necessary, but it’s also pretty important for me to pay my damn rent. Do you want me to stay home? THEN PAY ME!
I understand this is described as an instant lockdown.
There was a press conference at, I think, 4 p.m., and the lockdown hit at 8 p.m. So it suddenly came out of nowhere.
So you get four hours’ notice for a lockdown. Concretely, what does this mean for you?
This meant that the show I was playing at 9:30 am – so an hour and a half after the lockdown started – that show was canceled. All of these tickets are being revamped by the venue to hopefully be free to put on this show on another date.
I kind of went to the stores to stock up on things that would make me a little more comfortable. I think most people like me now have a lockdown routine.
It breaks my heart to hear you say the phrase “lockout routine” because I guess when you get into six locks it’s a reality.
In Melbourne, we’ve had a lot more lockdowns than other states, partly because we’re a very popular state to visit and we have a lot more movement, and also partly because of failed quarantine procedures. other states.
So I think the folks in Sydney are having their second lockdown, seeing them trying to figure it out, when we’re just kind of, you know, we just relax and say, “Alright, let’s do that.” You know, snap your fingers, get back into the routine.
You mentioned because of your job, because you are a comedian, that when the lockdown is in effect, you cannot work. What does this mean to you ?
As a performer, I am indeed a small business, so my savings aren’t just a good thing to have when saving for a vacation or whatever. My savings are capital for future investment. That’s how I fund tours to other places and stuff like that.
With each lockdown, I just, like, exhaust this more than I would like. And it gets a little scary.
I think this confinement, I’ll get out of it. But Lock Seven or Lock Eight might be the ones pushing me to the point where I can’t actually pay the rent. And I’m very scared of getting there.
Each time, it is just people who are constantly fighting for the support of the government. And what is very frustrating is that we have a very left-wing government at the state level, and they are the ones who control the timing of the lockdowns and control how the quarantine is handled at the state level. But we have a right-wing federal government, and this government is the one responsible for providing welfare and government support and business insurance and stuff, and it seems very disinterested in doing these things.
How stressful is it to worry about whether you will be able to pay your rent or not?
I’m really in a bind because I’ve been doing comedy here in Australia for almost a decade. It is very difficult to make the transition to another type of career, especially in the midst of a pandemic, when there is no job.
So at the same time, I don’t know how viable this career will be in the foreseeable future. So, I don’t know where I could get the money from. But I also feel like I can’t keep getting the money where I got it. And it is terrifying.
If the government doesn’t provide direct support, it would be nice if it even did some kind of indirect support, making it easier to find jobs and somehow fueling the labor market as a whole.
If you step back and look at the past year and a half, Australia has avoided the big numbers that you’ve seen in the United States, that you’ve seen here in Canada. And there have been aggressive steps to mitigate that… Do you think Australia has taken the right approach here?
I think the big deal here in Australia was not having the lockdowns and having these extreme measures in order to prevent COVID from gaining a foothold. Our problem here was that we didn’t do what all other countries have done, which is to take vaccines seriously and realize that vaccines are the end, ultimately, of it all.
Scott Morrison, as Prime Minister, has not ordered enough vaccines. He did not deploy the vaccines correctly. There have been a lot of confused messages here in Australia about who are eligible for vaccines and when they can get them. And there has been, like, a public disagreement between the Australian medical authorities and the Prime Minister.
And it all means that’s why we’re going to be stuck with this for a long time, and it means we’re at a point where it’s either continuing to lock in until we can get the shot, which could be in the middle of next year, or blow up COVID like everywhere else and have the last year and a half before nothing. And both of these results are pretty bleak.
Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from Reuters. Interview conducted by Sarah Jackson. The questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.