Right call on footy, tough road ahead
IT is understandable South Australians want to see life return to normal as quickly as possible – and seeing the AFL season kick off on June 11 will be evidence we’re heading in that direction.
But, even with yesterday’s marvellous news that SA now has no known active cases of COVID-19, we are not there yet. As Premier Steven Marshall noted: “It’s a day for celebration but also vigilance.”
He is right to say these hard won gains need protecting. The Government made the right call at the right time to refuse exemptions to social distancing and quarantine rules for the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide, in order to base themselves in SA. It would have sent a poor message at a time when all sections of society are making sacrifices to win the war against the virus. But the communication was hamfisted, during a week the Government should regard as its poorest since the start of the outbreak.
Whether it meant to send mixed messages or not, the fact remains the clubs felt largely blindsided by the decision. This was not helped by the fact that, during the same period, a series of photographs, published by The Advertiser, emerged showing packed peak hour train carriages.
This was compounded by a baffling response. One moment the minister responsible, Stephan Knoll, said there was nothing to worry about; the next the chief public health officer Professor Nicole Spurrier said people should avoid trains if they could not social distance. Finally Premier Steven Marshall said more services would be added. Confused yet?
These were by no means critical errors. But the Government would do well not to be so nonchalant off the bat in the future. Then there is discontent bubbling just beneath the surface over the breadth of restrictions hampering local businesses, at a time when other states appear are moving more quickly. Look no further than pubs in NSW. Up until now, the Government’s performance has been, by and large, flawless. Today’s health figures highlight that. From here, though, it will be tested.