Social Distancing Failed on Day 1 of Australia’s Reboot Plan
Posted on May 9, 2020
When I wrote my last article “Why Social Distancing Will Fail in Australia” earlier this week, the country had little inkling that just a couple of days later, the Federal Government would initiate a plan called a “3 Step Framework for a COVIDsafe Australia”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed frustration with his nation in lockdown and was now acquiescing to calls to get businesses humming again.
And on paper it was a reasonable plan, for each State and Territory was free to decide when and what to implement—and the whole was underwritten by an agreement that Australians would adhere to social distancing to make it a success.
Everything, ScoMo and his chief medical officer said, hinged on that.
So, Step 1 included a provision for retail:
Retail: Retail stores open—Retail stores and shopping centre managers must develop COVIDsafe plans.
Note the word “must”.
Well, Australia’s most populous States, Victoria and New South Wales, had not yet signed on: their infections were the highest in the country and they urged caution. Therefore, their Level 3 lockdowns remained in place which read, “Stay at home unless necessary”.
But it didn’t matter. For around the country, today—Saturday—thousands flocked to shopping malls and showed zero concern for social distancing.
As I predicted.
Rather, they swarmed in crowds of frenzy goaded all the way by a business lobby on the airwaves, pestering governments to “open up for the good of the economy”.
The results were pictures posted on Twitter today and reported on the nightly news, of the complete disregard on the part of business owners and mall managers for compliance with their COVIDsafe obligations.
I hope some lawyers are paying attention, because the potential for a class action is now biting at the bit.
For after just 1 day, we now get to wait 14 more to see what health damage the most infectious virus in modern history will bring to those crowds now in their homes—or maybe in one of those “small restaurants” now permitted to open too.
A perfect storm of stupidity. Worse than Bondi Beach.
Australia’s social distancing-based economic plan has utterly failed in its first 24 hours. It was completely foreseeable. It was comically badly implemented.
Someone will need to be held accountable, while its politicians and planners retract it, re-evaluate it and regroup.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day—and a Sunday at the malls begins afresh.
© 2020 Adam Parker.
Tagged: Australia, Business, Covid-19, CovidSafe, Social Distancing