To ensure she keeps the public with her over the next six weeks, the Premier should relax some rules around movement now. By doing so, she will enable people who have been cooped up for the best part of three months to blow off some steam responsibly, while encouraging them to remain compliant with the other COVID-19 rules through to mid-October.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard indicated on Saturday he was “totally supportive” of more freedoms for the fully vaccinated and exploring ways to bring normality back into our lives. There was, of course, a but: “I am concerned about people who are not vaccinated. Fresh air we know is the safest place to be at the present time.”
Giving fully vaccinated people another five kilometres of movement from their home poses minimal risk and acknowledges the effort these people have made to keep the community safe.
The government should also immediately scrap the curfew in place in Sydney hotspot LGAs. There is no evidence to support curfews as a public health measure and Deputy Premier John Barilaro has admitted it was only put in place because the government caved to pressure from media outlets to impose one. It’s time for the curfew to go.
Finally, the government must reconsider the illogical elements of its road map. There is no justification for opening pubs before schools. Schools are critical to the wellbeing of the state’s 1.2 million schoolchildren and it’s a terrible look if the government allows punters to down a beer at their local, while still denying young people access to a full education.
This road map is meant to be based on measured risk, but allowing only five vaccinated adult visitors in a house, yet up to 50 people at a wedding, also makes little sense when both types of gatherings have acted as superspreader events.
The public is increasingly fatigued by this pandemic. The plan announced on Thursday has much to commend it – but it also has some missing links and would benefit from a more nuanced approach.
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