Stunning pictures comparing Australian life in 2019 to the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic show why 2020 will go down in history as one of the most unforgettable years in decades – for all the wrong reasons.
Many of the freedoms Australians enjoy were taken away when Covid-19 began sweeping through the nation in March.
Shops, cafes, restaurants, gyms and pubs were shut. Overseas travel was banned. Streets were empty. Social distancing was strictly enforced and crossing state borders became impossible.
P2 face masks protecting us from bushfire smoke were quickly swapped out and replaced with surgical masks to help us stop the spread.
The unprecedented health crisis has so far claimed the lives of 908 Australians, with more than 28,000 infections reported across the country.
But there are glimmers of hope as the new year dawns.
The government remains positive millions of coronavirus vaccines will hit Australia’s shores next year, with frontline workers and the most vulnerable at the front of the queue for the jab.
A prospective travel bubble with New Zealand is also on the cards for the beginning of the year.
Here, Daily Mail Australia looks back on 2020 – a year like no other.
2019: Huge crowds line up to check-in for their Jetstar flights at Sydney Airport
2020: A lone passenger is seen walking through empty check-in counters at Sydney Airport in March. Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with the National Cabinet on March 24 and announced Australians were banned from leaving the country. Australians are still not allowed to travel overseas unless they are granted an exemption from the government. Upon return, citizens and permanent residents are required to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine at their own expense
2019: Commuters are packed together while waiting to board a train at Wynyard Station, in Sydney’s CBD, during peak hour
2020: Commuters on Sydney Trains are told to practice social distancing by sitting on green ‘sit here’ stickers. The recommendations were introduced in May and public transport users were also urged to wear face masks for their journey as passenger numbers plummeted
2019: Mourners form a guard of honour at a funeral for Whakaari/White Island volcano victims Anthony, Elizabeth and Winona Langford at Maris College North Shore Auditorium in Sydney on December 30
2020: Funerals were restricted to just 10 attendees by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in March. As Australia began to curb the spread of coronavirus, the limit was relaxed. In September, Sarah Caisip was unable to attend her father’s funeral in Brisbane, Queensland, due to border closures. She had been in mandatory hotel quarantine after travelling to Queensland from the ACT. In this picture, Ms Caisip is seen alighting from a ute wearing personal protective equipment to view her father’s body
2019: A couple kiss after tying the knot on the Sydney Harbour foreshore on December 10. The Harbour Bridge in the background is hidden by heavy smoke from bushfires
2020: A wedding is held outside a Melbourne registry office on October 26. The bride and groom, guests and celebrant are all wearing face masks – as was required at the time. Couples looking to say ‘I do’ during the pandemic were either forced to cancel the celebrations or drastically cut the guest list. When the first raft of changes were brought in during March, weddings were only allowed to have five people in attendance – including the bride, groom and celebrant
2019: Pedestrians wear face masks as they walk across Pyrmont Bridge in Sydney’s CBD on December 6. Sydneysiders were forced to cover their faces as thick smoke engulfed the Harbour City during the devastating and fatal bushfire season
2020: Shoppers in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall are seen wearing face masks on November 27. Victorians were required to wear a face mask every time they left their houses after a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections was sparked by an outbreak from the state’s bungled hotel quarantine program. The restrictions around face coverings have since eased
2019: A group of women dance on the street outside a pub in Sydney. On the other side of the barrier, friends socialise while enjoying a drink or two
2020: When the coronvirus lockdown was introduced in March, Australians were advised against seeing friends and family outside of their household. Zoom trivia sessions like this one became a popular way to get a social fix
2019: A supermarket shelf is packed to the brim with Kleenex and Quilton toilet paper packets
2020: Australia’s supermarkets were stripped bare in February and March amid fears the nation was heading towards lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: An elderly woman looks at the empty shelves at a Coles supermarket in March
2019: Thousands gather for an ‘Invasion Day’ rally in front of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Australia Day 2019
2020: A deserted Flinders Street Station is seen during Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown in July 17. One of Australia’s first coronavirus restrictions introduced in March was banning large public gatherings
2019: Easter Show attendees flock to the show bag pavilion. First held in 1823, the Sydney Royal Easter Show usually attracts an average of 850,000 people each year
2020: The empty Grand Parade is seen at the Sydney Showground at Olympic Park on April 7. The annual Royal Easter Show was due to start on 4 April, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019: Connections and racegoers stand together as they react during the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse
2020: For the first time in the famous race’s 160-year history, no punters were on course on November 3 following a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections in Victoria. The cup was held as restrictions in Melbourne began to ease. To celebrate the day, Melburnians could have one other household as guests to their home or meet up in groups of ten in parks
2019: Wests Tigers fans stand as the they take on the Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney’s inner-west in September
2020: The NRL was forced to pause the season in March. The game eventually returned in May – but without spectators. Fans were able to send in pictures of themselves to appear in the grandstand as a cardboard cut out
2019: ANZAC Day is marked annually on April 25 with dawn services and commemorative marches. In this picture from last year, George Clarke – who served in the Pacific – takes part in the ANZAC Day parade in Brisbane with granddaughter Judith Edmunds and Great grandson James Edmunds
2020: Australians were encouraged to commemorate ANZAC Day from their homes this year, with marches and commemorative services across the country banned due to the pandemic. Pictured: Alastair Tomkins, joined by his wife Katie and their sons Hugo, 9, (left) and Lyndon, 6, stand in silence after playing The Last Post in their driveway, at dawn, as neighbours stand outside their homes in Brisbane
2019: Sunseekers flock to Bondi Beach, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, to celebrate Christmas Day
2020: Bondi Beach is empty is empty in April. The iconic beach was shut to swimmers as the coronavirus pandemic hit Australia’s shores at the beginning of the year
2019: Sydneysiders make the most of the sunshine at Hyde Park during warm weather in October
2020: Police move people along on the grassy knoll at Bondi Beach in April. At the time, Sydneysiders were not allowed to be stationary while outdoors at parks and were instead required to be exercising
2019: Brisbane Roar players (L to R) Jay O’Shea, Jai Ingham and Roy O’Donovan are seen during a gym session in Brisbane on December 3
2020: Gyms and fitness centres were shut in March as Australia desperately attempted to control the coronavirus outbreak. They eventually re-opened but the dates were dependent on cases in each state and territory. The tape in this Melbourne gym regulates how many people are allowed in each section
2019: Construction and officers workers are seen waiting at a set of lights near Wynyard train station in February
2020: Businesses quickly shifted to a work from home model when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Pictured: Victoria Bowes works from her home station in Adelaide on April 2
2019: Prospective students gather together for Orientation Day at Macquarie University in Sydney’s north
2020: School and university students were forced out of the classroom during the health crisis. Pictured: Phoenix Crawford does school work on a laptop while being home-schooled by his mum Donna Eddy in Sydney in April
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