It has been almost three months since being allowed to recommence Skydiving at our Drop Zone and we really feel for many of our Skydiving friends in Victoria who remain in lockdown with no real end in sight.
We voluntarily closed up shop in March this year seeing that it was more than likely inevitable anyway. Most Drop Zones around Australia were in the same boat and probably a few days after we shut the doors, Skydiving everywhere was put on indefinite hold.
Owner Sandy and myself (Allan) made the most of a bad situation. Sandy worked in Melbourne Mon-Fri whilst I stayed in Adelaide and made a mess of the house. With COVID, we packed up our apartment in Melbourne and Sandy moved back to Adelaide to work from home. This would be the first time we had lived together long term since being married and we actually got on quite well.
So in May things were starting to loosen up so I wrote several emails and made several calls to see what we needed to do to open the doors. It was very frustrating. The COVID hotline wanted me to get permission from the Police, the Police wanted permission from the State Government. This went back and forth. I wrote to my local MP who wrote on our behalf to the State Premier. Finally the Police gave the nod and with a COVID plan in place, we were able to open up on the long weekend in June.
Numbers were restricted that first weekend. No Tandems or Students were allowed with emphasis on Instructors and a number of regular skydivers being briefed, practicing emergency procedures, doing jumps with slightly higher opening heights and conservative approaches and landings. All the while observing social distancing, wearing masks or helmets in the plane, no sausage sizzles at lunch time, but generally doing what we do and having fun getting back in the air again.
It was amazing that everyone must have realised that this was a privilege that not everyone in the country has been allowed to do, and that it would not take much for skydiving in SA to be closed down again if we did not follow simple rules. Landings were safe, and surprisingly consistent.
The following week we opened up for Tandem Skydiving and Solo Students. Numbers were still heavily restricted but the State Government further reduced the restrictions on numbers a few weeks later.
Surprisingly again, we have been fairly busy with Solo Students and Tandems and we would say it has been one of our busiest winters for some time. We are putting a lot of that down to people seeing the opportunity to do these things now and wanting to get it done in case we have to lock down again. Hopefully not.
We would just like to thank those who helped get the doors open again but especially our crazy regular fun jumpers and staff who keep the planes full and in the air and give us a reason to look forward to our jumping days.
Amazing experience all round!
» Hollie Dempster