Big Business Backed "Let It Rip" Covid-19 Policy A Disaster For Working People

Written by: Ned K. on 27 January 2022

 

In November 2021 big business cranked up its demands on federal and state governments to "open up" interstate and international borders and to lift so-called "restrictions" such as social distancing, mask wearing, limits on number of people at indoor events and hospitality venues.

The federal government and state governments obliged to varying degrees with the NSW Government the most subservient to big business demands. The only government to hold the line was the WA Labor Government due to pressure from the people and the fragility of its hospital system.

The Morrison Government line was that people wanted government "out of their lives" so they could enjoy Christmas and New Year period and that people just had to "get used to Covid 19" which Morrison said was pretty well done and dusted as a serious health threat.

From late November the "let it rip" policy was in full swing. Within a week though public health authorities in one State after the other warned that the new Covid Omicron strain was spreading very quickly, despite being less severe than the previously dominant Delta strain.

Every night on the TV News, the number of cases of people with Covid 19 and the number of hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 escalated.

The impact on workers was severe. Christmas and New Year turned in to the opposite of what Morrison and his corporate bosses had promised. Families remained apart due to positive cases and others being close contacts of positive cases of Covid-19. Capitalism's supply chains started to fall apart as workers had to isolate due to the impact of the virus. Some small and medium sized businesses closed down altogether due to the spread of the virus. The get-used-to-living-with-Covid-19 line of big business and governments in order to increase profits was turning in to its opposite for small businesses in particular.

A good example of this occurring hit the daily media cycle in South Australia. Both the city and regional media reported that social events at a seaside hotel and restaurant at historic Robe in the South East of the State on New Year's Eve and the following weekend had become super spreader Covid-19 events. The number of cases jumped from a handful in early December to over 200 in a town whose population swelled from 2,000 to 15,000 in the holiday season. Most small businesses in the town either closed or were on restricted hours due to lack of available workers,

The largest hospitality venue that caused the outbreak in the first place was reported to have made $150,000 profit on the two nights when all the Covid-19 safety protections such as mask wearing and social distancing were ignored as the hotel owner was counting dollars coming in, not the number of potential Covid cases. The daily media reported that the impact of the spread of the virus due to the irresponsibility of the hotel owner so upset local people that the SA Health authorities were forced to step in and provide a Covid testing station and fined the hotel owner $5,000. Locals said that the owner shrugged off the $5,000 fine as chicken feed compared with the $150,000 profit from the two nights.

This small incident in a small seaside town in the small state of SA was a microcosm of the impact of the "let it rip" policies that impacted adversely people in all States, including to a lesser extent in WA. What happened in SA showed the class nature of the impact of Covid-19 and government policies with workers and small businesses, the elderly and people with disabilities being worst affected.

It was later reported that in SA, the Liberal Government Premier and the Police Commissioner (who some say ran the State, not the Premier and his government) disregarded the health advice of the Chief Medical Officer Nicola Spurrier. She wanted the SA Government to close the interstate again in November until the medical people knew more about the Omicron strain. However, in the name of profits over Christmas first for business, her advice was ignored. This is a commonly known fact now. It may well come back to bite the Marshall and Morrison Governments when they face election day in March and May respectively.

People seem to have no illusions that Labor Governments will be much better, but people still delight in kicking out governments that clearly serve the interests of the rich few.

 

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