The One Place Australians Can’t Seem To Escape COVID

There’s one place Australian blokes don’t seem to be able to escape COVID – at least that was our experience a couple of weeks ago. That place? Bunnings Warehouse.

Having checked in four times in one week, we soon recieved four seperate COVID-19 case alerts. One for each visit. It was the usual alert: if you feel symptoms, go get a test. But because the definition of a close contact has now been changed (you now have to have spent 4 hours or more in a residential setting with someone to be deemed a close contact), there was nothing we were required to do, as we felt fine .

In light of this, we took to Instagram to see what our followers thought about NSW’s QR code system.

Left: COVID check in alerts. Right: Instagram poll conducted by DMARGE.

86% of our Instagram followers who responded to the survey answered “Yes, it’s everywhere,” saying checking into places was becoming pointless.

Not everyone agrees with this, however. 14% of people said checking in was still neccessary. There are a couple of reasons for this. The one offered by NSW Dominic Perrottet is a bit flimsy (he basically says the measure will stay in place until at least the end of February, as psychological reassurance, having said: “People feel confident checking in, and our job as government is to instil confidence in our people”).

Another reason could be because it, if used correctly, still helps vulnerable people look after themselves a little more effectively, as one Londoner on Twitter pointed out last year (in the case of England) last year.

The problem seems to be that many people seem to have already decided for themselves that it’s pointless and given up.

Others are still checking in, but grudgingly.

Others are asking how it can be pointless, if we’re still getting alerts.

As The Daily Mail reported yesterday, journalist and radio presenter Ben Fordham recently slammed the utility of QR codes in NSW, saying they are useless if NSW is no longer tracing contacts.

“The host said that if health officials were still tracing the movements of Covid cases, it would be a ‘different story’ and there would be an obvious purpose to retaining them,” The Daily Mail reported.

“Premier Dominic Perrottet has defended his decision to keep the Covid measure, saying keeping the codes was mainly for psychological reassurance,” The Daily Mail added.

Professor Catherine Bennett from Deakin University told the Herald: “If it’s a memory prompt for where you have been or something that will make you more alert to symptoms, that’s a good thing, but the virus is moving so quickly that by the time you get the ‘ping’ you’ve passed it on,’ she told the Herald.

Professor Bennett said the alerts should only be mandated in high risk (for COVID) places like hairdressers and nightclubs.

On a similar note, on Twitter, journalist Steve Price recently asked his followers if they were ready to get back to normal, or if they still wanted restrictions.

Some didn’t see the harm in keeping some restrictions like masks which one user pointed out “we’ve done… in Asia for many years.” Others said they were done with the inconvenience and that it was time to try to get back to normal.

A huge number of users, however, said they were keen to continue following the rules, pointing out they are there “for a reason” and suggesting it would be selfish to stop following them.

They also pointed out that COVID is still much more serious than a flu.

Earlier this week, the NSW premier announced a bunch of restrictions that were due to ease on Thursday would be extended until at least February the 28th.

These measures include a one-person per two-square-meter capacity limit in cafes, bars and restaurants, mask-wearing in indoor spaces and a ban on and dancing with exemptions for schools, weddings and performers.

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