HISTORY will likely show Australia's nationwide series of COVID-19 lockdowns were a key reason why the nation was able to bring an initial peak of coronavirus cases quickly under control.
We were told at the time to expect the restrictions to last for six months at least, but Canberra and the state and territory governments are now intent on more quickly reopening our shuttered society, with schools and tourism two of the focuses in NSW this week.
After pushing teachers to convert lessons into online content, the state government changed tack early this month, ordering students back to school one day a week in a staggered reintroduction to the classroom.
This week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she expects full five-day-a-week school attendance from Monday, with fear of the virus not an acceptable reason for absence.
Coronavirus does not appear as harmful to most children as it is to older adults, but they can and do contract the virus, and there's no reason to believe they could not be links in a chain of community transmission.
This controversial forced return to school is unsurprisingly causing concern among teachers and their unions, regardless of the soothing words and cleanliness protocols - minus social distancing - emanating from the government.
Corresponding unease will likely accompany the reawakening of tourism once restrictions on travel within NSW are lifted on June 1.
We only need look back to the Easter week, when NSW MLC Don Harwin lost his ministerial job after being caught travelling between Sydney and his Pearl Beach holiday house.
Up and down the coast, police were booking non-residents in tourist towns, aided, it seems, in some cases, by zealous "locals" who did not want the virus brought in by "outsiders".
Bookings are already taking off on news of the travel resumption, and businesses in tourism towns will no doubt welcome an improvement in financial positions rendered parlous by COVID-19.
But not everyone sees the world through business eyes.
Unfamiliar faces may well be viewed with suspicion - especially if case numbers rise as restrictions are relaxed - in the same way that every sniffle in the classroom from now on will have a charged effect like never before.
As we tread warily towards our new normality, the social challenges of recovery are only beginning.
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