Yesterday a year ago Gladys Berejiklian, then premier of New South Wales, sent Greater Sydney into a 2-week lockdown over the uncontrolled community spread of Covid-Delta. By that time 30,000 Australians had caught Covid-19.

A few weeks later, the premier abandoned her lockdown declaring instead, the time had come to “live with” Covid-19. And that eventually became Australia’s policy.

Yesterday Australia recorded its 8,000,000th Covid-19 infection.

A new Covid-19 variant is beginning to sweep Australia. We’ve been told it’s called Omicron BA.5.

Those who’ve networked with me will know that my chosen field of study many years ago, was Human Resources Management. We called it Personnel Management back then. My bona fides for the advice that follows therefore, is not epidemiology nor virology, though as a professional writer for 10 years now I comment on and research across the spectrum. Seeing how Covid-19 has changed our lives, it is one of those stories. I hold the Institute of Personnel Management Australia’s medal for academic excellence. I was the IPMA’s successor—AHRI’s—youngest senior associate and I was a CMAHRI for decades. I mention all this only to assure you, that the words that follow come from a sound commercial and research pedigree.

Omicron BA.5 is now predominant in NSW and is beginning to infiltrate Victoria. It will soon be “the” Covid strain in Australia as it already is in the UK. We are told that this variant is not only massively more infectious than Delta, but that it holds one key weapon we’ve not encountered to date.

It evades our vaccine immunity.

Vaccines are fundamental to our nation’s Covid strategy and our own individual health. While BA.5 will evade their immunity, we remain assured that they will still protect us from hospitalisation and death. They therefore are a must have and my arm has 4 of them as a hereditary weight-controlled Type 2 diabetic.

Yet where does that leave you as guardians of your businesses?

Many of you already run and support the economy with fantastic Covid-19 protocols from tailored interior design, social distancing, airflow, cleaning, vaccination and the smart optimisation of work from home.

Many of your businesses, however, particularly retail and hospitality must run with staff on hand. And there’s the problem.

If BA.5 can bypass our current vaccines, not only will Australia’s remaining uninfected 18 million people catch it—those 8 million who’ve already caught it and are still alive, will catch it again too: ad nauseum we’ve been told, until better vaccines and therapeutics arrive.

How then are you going to maintain and attract staffing levels needed to serve customers? How are you going to maintain your customer inflows, secure your manufacturing, supply and distribution? How can you run a business if Covid can indiscriminately infect everyone and repeatedly?

In other words—how can you stay open and profitable?

The answer is a strategy called “Vaccines Plus” that epidemiologists have been recommending for a year.

Today is the time to consult some experts in the field who can tailor your operations to mitigate the “spread of Covid” into and out of your businesses. We’re talking N95-type mask wearing and their supply to both workers and patrons. We’re talking ventilation and the tailored installation of HEPA filters. We’re talking, once again, the physical distancing of staff and maximising work from home functionality. We may need to do business like this for some time and not locked down. So long as revenue is coming in, staff numbers are healthy and reliable, and customers feel safe to do business with you—what does it matter?

Never in the past hundred years has there been a time for brilliance in business management and HR like this. It’s capitalism at its best. Those who make the effort will maximise their chances of survival. Those who don’t will notice competitors who will.

Quality and reliability go hand-in-hand in business. Unfortunately, Covid-19 remains a threat to both. Good thing is, humans are smarter than a virus.

© 2022 Adam Parker.

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