It’s just another whack with a bommy knocker

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That escalated quickly.

I know some of you, well, most of you if the comments section is representative of the wider public view (a chat for another day), think this is all a storm in a tea-cup and mighty hoo-ha over a ‘‘cold’’.

I don’t have a view either way on that.

But for those of you who, still, are struggling to understand what the ‘‘big fuss’’ is all about and why Queenstown’s ‘‘whinging again’’, look at our place right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go for a wee wander around the CBD at 7pm.

In less than seven days, this ‘‘cold’’ has had devastating impacts on our town centre due to the government’s response to it, affecting every industry and bringing parts of our economy to a grinding halt.

The worst thing is knowing we’re now on the Omi-go-round.

There’ll be many of us who, once we’ve either recovered or had to isolate, will go back to work and, almost inevitably, find ourselves having to go through the whole dog’s breakfast again.

Already, a desire to avoid that, is seeing people being, well, creative, because they can’t afford to have mass staff absence.

You need look no further than Republic to see the impact of Omicron — by Tuesday they had more than 50 staff in self-isolation, and a few more who’d tested positive.

Five of their venues had pinged between last Thursday and Tuesday, one of them eight
times.

The response being forced on us is the antithesis of ‘‘living with Covid’’.

Keeping calm and carrying on: Fergburger open for business last Thursday, the day Queenstown’s first Omicron case was confirmed

It’s a pseudo lockdown, by any and every other name, without, so far, any financial support … though rumour has it the government’s set to make an announcement on that today or tomorrow.

I was going to say our situation’s the definition of an unintended consequence, but I’ll have a rare punt and say there’s nothing unintended about it.

If three-quarters of our town, alone, has to be at home self-isolating for seven days, for now, that cheeky wee virus doesn’t have much opportunity to spread, provided you’re actually self-isolating.

But, even better, for the government, because it’s not technically a ‘‘lockdown’’, the financial assistance they can, and will, provide is a lot less spenky.

It’s kind of genius when you think about.

Nothing to see here: Queenstown’s Shotover St, last Thursday afternoon, soon after the resort’s first Omicron case was confirmed

It’s also another whack over the head with a bommy knocker for all of the businesses and industries who have, for at least 18 months, been grappling with staffing shortages, and trying to make ends meet.

They might, technically, be able to keep doors open.

But remember how before last week (was it really only last week?) so many of the hospo venues, in particular, were having to adjust hours and close down for a couple of days a week ’cos they already didn’t have enough staff?

You’re smelling what I’m stepping in, yes?

Think about Republic, again, and then understand the potential ramifications on their staff’s flatmates/families/social contacts.

In case you still don’t understand the ‘‘big fuss’’ — and haven’t worked out we’re a sideshow at the circus right now — let me tell you a story.

At 12.20pm on Monday I got the ‘‘close contact’’ text from the Ministry of Health.

Apparently I was potentially exposed last Wednesday.

I dropped everything, donned my investigation pant and soon ascertained, even by the ministry’s own definition, I’m not a close contact.

But, when the truly lovely lady from the ministry called me, four hours later, and I explained this, I was informed of the ‘‘Public Health Order’’ requiring me, as what they had deemed to be a close contact, to have my frontal lobe stimulated, nasally.

The kicker, though, was when my contact tracer asked me if I’d been self-isolating since my exposure.

The temperature in hell drops more often than I’m rendered speechless.

’Twas a red letter day, friends.

First, after the longest pause (I was waiting for her to laugh), I told her, ‘‘no’’.

Judgy-wudgy, she became.

That’s when I don’t think, hard as I tried, I was able to keep the sarcasm from my voice when I pointed out she’s asking me if I’ve self-isolated since exposure five days ago … that I found out about four hours ago.

Jiminy Christmas.

So, I’ve had my first swab (it’s NOT something to be afraid of, I promise you, oh, and I’m negative), I’ll stay put for a few more days, I contacted the people I really needed to, just to give them a quiet heads up, and am typing this from my garden office, having taken ‘Casual Friday’ to an ENTIRELY new level, and am celebrating it daily, thinking
about how lucky I am to still be able to work.

I’m also thinking of our business community, many of whom are on self-administered, self-funded life support and wondering at what point they’re going to have to turn it off.

So, yeah, this ‘‘cold’’ might not be something some people are worried about health-wise.

But the way we’re being made to respond to it, without doubt, is a big deal, with gargantuan consequences for almost all of us, in one way or another.

Just so we’re clear, that’s what the ‘‘big fuss’’ is all about.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz