The sister of a Melbourne tradesman who died last week said she is relieved her five-week-old nephew will now be able to attend his dad’s funeral, but says no family should have to go through what they have.
Electrician Jarrod Fox, 37, was electrocuted while working at a Croydon property in Melbourne's outer east on August 18.
Heartbreakingly, the dad-of-two, from Kilsyth, had only welcomed his second son, Jasper, five-weeks-ago with his fiancee Charmaine Rowe. The couple also have a two-year-old son named Archer.
Mr Fox’s sister, Erin Fox, told Yahoo News Australia that while trying to manage their grief and plan his funeral for this Friday, the family learned baby Jasper would be included in the 10 person limit on gatherings under Victoria’s coronavirus Stage 4 restrictions.
Erin said she got in touch with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s department, but said they received a “generic response saying sorry for your loss, however here are the rules”.
The 35-year-old said she was stunned that the newborn would be counted as one of the 10 attendees because he is dependent on his mum and can’t be left with a babysitter at such a young age.
After the Fox family made a public appeal, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday he has overruled to grant an exemption.
"I just want to confirm that when it comes to the calculation of the 10 mourners for the funeral this Friday, the five-week-old baby, who is a dependent, will not be counted as part of the 10,” he said.
Mr Andrews also said the state's lockdown guidelines for funerals will be broadened to exclude infants under the age of one.
“No one should have to go through this,” Erin told Yahoo News Australia.
“It doesn’t change our grief but it is a huge burden lifted off our shoulders and a stress we just didn’t need when we’re trying to arrange a funeral.”
Coronavirus kept family apart
Erin said Stage 4 restrictions prevented her and her mum, Cheryl, from meeting the family’s newest addition until the night Mr Fox died.
While they were able to meet up when the lockdown was briefly lifted, she is devastated she was never able to see her brother hold Jasper in person.
“It was hard because we couldn’t see them or hold Jasper. Jarrod rang us and he was just over the moon to give Archer a baby brother,” she explained.
“I never thought the day I would meet my nephew would be the day he lost his dad,” she said Yahoo News Australia.
Erin, who has set up a GoFundMe to help Charmaine care for the children, said her brother had always been “a very caring person and family man”.
“One word that comes to mind with Jarrod is just content because he always wanted a family and he had his two boys. A contentment that a lot of people don’t get to enjoy in life,” she said.
The “workaholic” who began his apprenticeship at 17 popped the question to Charmaine three years ago.
The mum-of-two is in shock but is holding herself together, Erin said.
“At the moment she has a brand new baby and hasn’t have the ability to really loose herself in grief.”
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