For the 5th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Annalee Unwin. Annalee is a 39-year-old urban, distance and marathon inline skater from Sydney, Australia.

What is the current situation with COVID-19 in Syndey?

We are in a semi-lockdown situation. People are still allowed to move about freely but are asked to stay at home unless they are going to work, doing grocery shopping or exercising. All non-essential businesses have been closed. I run my own business and currently am unable to operate due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Are you still skating? If so what precautions are you taking to stay safe?

I’m still skating. Being cautious to avoid other people and not touching things when I’m out and about.

Where have you been skating?

I’ve been skating wherever I’ve thought there would be less people. Skating around the city yesterday, the few people I encountered were pretty excited to see a rollerblader. Everyone was keeping their distance from everyone else but people were mock leaping out of my way and smiling at me. It was quite nice. Sydney is a big city and in general, keep to themselves like most people in other big cities. So, it was quite nice to experience that.

What would have to happen to make you stop skating completely?

A directive from the government or my own sense of unease with the situation.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time?

Tennis, training outdoors with my PT and now that I can’t work due to government mandate, I have time to crochet again.

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life?

It’s completely upended everything. My business has had to temporarily close and I don’t know when I’ll be able to reopen again. My job involves a lot of domestic and international travel and those trips have obviously been cancelled. My grandma is 90 years old and I haven’t seen her since mid-Feb because I’m terrified there’s a risk of giving her Corona Virus.

What are your major concerns right now and looking into the future?

To be honest, I’m pretty fearful of what the world looks like in 6 months.

How is the skate community in Sydney responding?

Until recently groups of up to 100 were allowed to congregate outside so Sydney City Skate was cautiously proceeding but the number quickly dropped to 10 and now no more than 2 people from different households may be together so there are no longer group skates for us.


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