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Young couple from Brisbane ‘counting down the days’ to see family across the border

Family: Pia and Arnie Hurdoyal with their son Micah Joseph.

AS the Queensland border is set to reopen to Greater Sydney and Victoria on December 1, one local Catholic family is already “counting down the days” until they can reunite with family for Christmas.

Brisbane Catholics Arnaud and Pia Hurdoyal, and their son Micah, have only a few distant relatives in north Queensland with Arnaud’s family roots in Victoria and Pia’s in New South Wales.

“We’re able to go home to New South Wales, we’re having a big family Christmas with all of my siblings and all of our families together,” Mrs Hurdoyal said.

“It’ll be really nice for all of us coming from all of these different states to actually be able to be together.

“It was a massive year where none of us could really see each other.”

Mrs Hurdoyal said she was unable to make her sister’s wedding earlier in the year because of the border closures with NSW.

“A lot of the family was unable to be there because of all the restrictions on both wedding numbers and the borders,” she said.

“As her sister, that was really sad because I never thought I wouldn’t see my sister get married … it was really sad.

“But I think it was also a beautiful witness to marriage … it’s marriage and it was for the two of them.”

The newlyweds were expecting a baby next year too.

Mrs Hurdoyal said she was “super excited” to see her sister and brother-in-law for the first time as a married couple and as expecting parents.

The Hurdoyals had also planned to have family come up for Micah’s first birthday this year but were unable to because of the coronavirus restrictions.

Much of Mr Hurdoyal’s family had been stuck in Melbourne’s lockdowns, which only ended in late October.

Since lockdowns eased, Victoria has gone 26 days without a new COVID-19 case or death.

Mr Hurdoyal said this year had had “a lot of video calls and phone calls” to keep in touch, especially to see Micah.

“My parents are first-time grandparents so they missed out on seeing Micah for quite a while,” he said.

“They saw him for the first six months but basically once we got into this year they haven’t been able to see him at all, except in video calls.”

The year had put an extra emphasis on the importance of family for the Hurdoyals.

“For me in my younger years, I really took that for granted; now, living in a different state, and having gone through that I really value my parents being involved in my life and in my son’s life,” Mr Hurdoyal said.

“I took it for granted that they could fly up or we could fly there anytime, especially with the prospect of Christmas and not being with our family around Christmas, that was definitely daunting.

“It put a lot of perspective into the importance of family.”

Mrs Hurdoyal said her family had a Facebook chat where they were literally counting down the days until they could see each other again.

She said a lot of her family had had kids since the border closures.

“All of the little kids will be able to play with each other this year,” she said.

“I think it’s just definitely going to be more special … and we’re just all really excited to see each other and spend time with each other and make the most of the time we do have together.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the border decisions were reached after NSW reached, and Victoria was set to reach, the 28-day criteria of no unresolved coronavirus cases.

Much of Greater Sydney has been barred from entry since August 1 while the closure with Victoria has lasted since mid-May in some parts.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the border decisions were also contingent on continued strong testing levels and monitoring for traces of COVID-19 in sewage systems.

No decision has been made for South Australia yet with 20 local government areas still considered hotspots after the Parafield cluster reached 29 cases at time of writing.

All other states and territories can already travel to Queensland.

Much of Mr Hurdoyal’s family had been stuck in Melbourne’s lockdowns, which only ended in late October.

Since lockdowns eased, Victoria has gone 26 days without a new COVID-19 case or death.

Mr Hurdoyal said this year had had “a lot of video calls and phone calls” to keep in touch, especially to see Micah.

“My parents are first-time grandparents so they missed out on seeing Micah for quite a while,” he said.

“They saw him for the first six months but basically once we got into this year they haven’t been able to see him at all, except in video calls.”

The year had put an extra emphasis on the importance of family for the Hurdoyals.

“For me in my younger years, I really took that for granted; now, living in a different state, and having gone through that I really value my parents being involved in my life and in my son’s life,” Mr Hurdoyal said.

“I took it for granted that they could fly up or we could fly there anytime, especially with the prospect of Christmas and not being with our family around Christmas, that was definitely daunting.

“It put a lot of perspective into the importance of family.”

Mrs Hurdoyal said her family had a Facebook chat where they were literally counting down the days until they could see each other again.

She said a lot of her family had had kids since the border closures.

“All of the little kids will be able to play with each other this year,” she said.

“I think it’s just definitely going to be more special … and we’re just all really excited to see each other and spend time with each other and make the most of the time we do have together.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the border decisions were reached after NSW reached, and Victoria was set to reach, the 28-day criteria of no unresolved coronavirus cases.

Much of Greater Sydney has been barred from entry since August 1 while the closure with Victoria has lasted since mid-May in some parts.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the border decisions were also contingent on continued strong testing levels and monitoring for traces of COVID-19 in sewage systems.

No decision has been made for South Australia yet with 20 local government areas still considered hotspots after the Parafield cluster reached 29 cases at time of writing.

All other states and territories can already travel to Queensland.

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