In Australia, Victoria has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. And so the Victorian state government has implemented the most restrictive public health orders in the country to get infection numbers down. This includes limiting non-essential travel further than 25 kilometres.
Figuring out what places are in your 5km circle is easy enough for one person. But it gets more complicated when you’re trying to co-ordinate between people in different locations.
Solving where you can meet during the Victoria COVID-19 lockdown
That’s why François Petitjean decided to create Melbourne Friend Zone. It’s a tool that shows areas that overlap between multiple radiuses over a map of Melbourne and Victoria.
And, helpfully, it even shows public barbecues and playgrounds where you can meet.
Petitjean got the idea when Premier Dan Andrews announced the state's roadmap out of restrictions.
"I saw myself wanting to know which friends I could meet where. I found it a bit tricky and I'm pretty good with tech," he said to Gizmodo Australia in a Twitter DM.
So Petitjean asked a couple of developer friends (all French expats!) over last Saturday to see if they could thrash out the tool, which they launched shortly after.
Initially, the tool only offered the ability to show the overlapping 5km circles. But the team kept having ideas for how to improve it.
"Once we had the first version with basic functions, we kept thinking "oh what about we add BBQs?" Petitjean said.
"Then I chatted with a work colleague who was telling me how playgrounds had reopened and the relief it brought to parents. And so we added playground locations as well," he said.
Since it launched, thousands of people have used it to find out where they can meet in Victoria under the COVID-19 restrictions. Petitjean said he's chuffed with the uptake.
"This is a very simple website, but we were very keen to help the community," he said. "But we were happily surprised to see the uptake and the lovely messages on Twitter."
Updated on 19/10 for new Victorian COVID-19 rules.