Despite telling us earlier this year she wouldn’t have to lock us down anymore (see Brisbane won’t face another virus lockdown), CHO Jeannette Young has imposed on SEQ two “circuit breaker” lockdowns in one month. And this one looks like it could go beyond “circuit breaker” to “business breaker”, with the Courier-Mail reporting the lockdown could go on for two weeks, which seems very possible given the spread of the virus already.
Even though CCIQ has stressed to the state government the high cost to an affected small business of a lockdown ($15k to $65k for three days), the state government is only offering one-off grants of $5k as compensation (as reported by the Courier-Mail). Based on CCIQ’s estimates, this will be insufficient and the circuit-breaker lockdown could indeed become a business-breaker lockdown. I should also note the state government will probably require excessive paperwork from businesses to access the grant, something small business owners tell me has annoyed them about state government grants in the past.
Alas, the Queensland Government doesn’t appear to understand just how much harm its lockdowns cause. I understand these are not easy decisions, as of course COVID-19 is a serious disease, but the government’s willingness to so quickly disrupt the lives of millions with only six hours warning (as it did on Saturday) and to impose authoritarian measures is very disturbing. If you also find this disturbing, please check out the Restore Democracy in Queensland e-petition to the Queensland Parliament.
It’s still early days in the current lockdown, so we’ll need to see just how severe the ultimate cost is, but I expect the accumulating costs will make more people question the wisdom of the zero-community-transmission target, a target which could see us locked down until mid-August, if not later.
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