Clayton Barr: Raising the Barr | The hardest part of a seven-day lockdown is the first five weeks

I don't think that too many of us could have predicted that when the Hunter went into lockdown five weeks ago that we would still be there after such a long time. I am sure that most would have thought that we could get on top of the small number of COVID cases that were around at the time and quickly get back to a more normal life. But here we are five weeks later.

Many people have expressed to me their deep frustration with workers, travellers and tourists still arriving in our community from the Sydney hotspots. And I often get people raising their concerns about large group gatherings and those that aren't wearing masks in public or QR coding as they enter venues. It has been a difficult time and I am sure that we would all like to get past it but it will require all of us to make our best efforts to follow the rules. Because most of us are doing exactly that, I am sure this increases the anger and frustration when we see people deliberately doing the wrong thing.

The rules are confusing. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard the Premier say that the rules were "straight forward" and "simple". The rules are so confusing that there are times when the rules (Health Orders) say one thing while the NSW Government websites say something different.

If you are ever unsure about what you should or shouldn't be doing can I encourage you to call Service NSW on 13 77 88. Make a note of the time and day that you call and of the name of the person that you speak to. And to be perfectly clear, as the local MP I cannot give you permission to break the rules so please, please don't ask.

Go safely, go carefully and let's go together.


There are many downsides to being in lockdown. We could all make our own lists of things that we would like to be doing, but just can't.

But some are using the lockdown to invest time and energy into other hobbies or career options. One example of this is the musical work and release of an EP by artist Piper Butcher. Piper lives in West Wallsend which is part of the Electorate of Cessnock. Over the weekend I checked into iTunes and there was Piper's EP topping the charts.

Whether you are spending more time singing, painting, improving your garden, working on your fitness, reading or learning new things, there can be some upside to the lockdown and I sincerely hope you are finding yours.

Clayton Barr is the State MP for Cessnock