THE Government’s decision to adjust the opening and closing hours for bars across the country is well advised, given the demonstration by patrons of a “throw caution to the wind” atmosphere over the weekend.
With the relaxation of restrictions which came with the highly positive results thus far in our collective approaches to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our midst, patrons clearly demonstrably went overboard.
In cases too widespread for comfort, patrons were flocking to their favourite drinking and liming spots, some gathering on the outside of these establishments, in numbers much larger than the 25 per group as stipulated by the authorities.
Sufficient reminders of the possible backlash by this still incomprehensible, deadly virus are there before our eyes, as populations in localities in 36 of the 50 states in the US have shown us. The rates of infection in places where it was felt that the virus had been brought under control are deeply troubling.
In districts in various parts of the “sunshine state” of Florida yesterday, authorities were moved to outlaw gatherings at beaches and parks, as the Independence Day holiday, Fourth of July approaches.
Infections have spiked in many of these states as a result of the enormous pressures put on local authorities to reopen for normal business and consumer activity, after months of lockdown.
The cautions were abandoned, and the results are becoming clearer for all to see.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro is facing increasing outrage for a tighter rein on public activity because of the phenomenal rise in infections, the result of lax monitoring and restrictive measures. Together with India, Brazil is now battling the effects of over 10,000 new cases a day for the past week. These two countries accounted for over one third of all new cases in the world over this one-week period.
Abandoning the measures which we here have observed for the better part of the last three months has the real distinct potential of wrecking all the gains we have made as a people, to bring us to the point at which there have been positive revisions of the six phases of reopening originally established.
There can be no retreat now from the cautions which have been observed by the vast majority of us. The threat of overwhelming the health care system with a flood of cases remains very real, if stocktaking in our local situation were not conducted on the basis of what we saw over the weekend.
An object lesson on continued surveillance and testing is to be found in the fact that nine nationals repatriated aboard the cruise ship Enchantment of the Seas tested positive for the virus. All of the rest of the 293 persons on board would now be quarantined on land.
While some of the frustrations expressed by these citizens is understandable, there is value here for upholding the larger principle that it is better safe than sorry.
Bar owners and their patrons must take firmer positions, therefore, in positively, firmly obeying the restrictions as revised by the authorities yesterday. This will forestall any unwelcome reverting to tighter lockdowns, and will minimise if not remove the still ever-present threat of community spread.