SARS-CoV-2

Let’s begin locally. There is a lot to digest after further policy announcements late last night by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

After meeting with the National Cabinet, the PM announced that the following businesses or activities will be banned from midnight tonight:

  • auction houses
  • arcades
  • beauty salons
  • tattoo parlours
  • open houses
  • amusement parks
  • swimming pools
  • indoor exercise activities
  • libraries
  • museums
  • galleries
  • shopping centre food courts
  • auctions
  • open houses
  • indoor and outdoor play centres
  • indoor exercise activities

Notably, outdoor exercise groups can still go ahead as long as fewer than 10 people are participating. Likewise, hairdressers and barbers remain open if the appointment lasts no longer than 30minutes. Indoor weddings are now limited to 5 people (presumably the couple, celebrant and witnesses). Sadly, funerals are limited to 10 people. It seems increasingly likely that a complete lockdown in Australia is inevitable.

Any social gathering, business, or activity which is going ahead must follow the one person per four square meter rule. The full list can be accessed here.1

Schools remain open in every state and territory, except in ACT and Victoria. Despite schools being open in these states, it is clear that parents have already been taking children out of schools on their initiative.2

This morning the Victorian Premier was blunt in his press conference when he said that having dinner parties or inviting friends over for beers now that venues are shut is unacceptable.

The Premier is right. Social distancing requires that we all play our part and keep away from each other where possible. One study by the Centre for Complex Systems and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at Sydney University suggests that failure to reduce our social contact by 70% will mean that the coronavirus will continue to spread.3

The effect of social distancing on infection rates of COVID-19

Finally, I read a fantastic article this morning in The Economist discussing the role of HR in a crisis. This article can be accessed here.4 As the piece highlighted, the role of HR is often unfairly derided by other members of staff. In an emergency, notably a pandemic, a good HR manager can mean the difference between a company continuing to trade, or going insolvent.

HR is fundamental for maintaining a firm’s morale, establishing working-from-home arrangements, and most importantly, keeping employees healthy. Likewise, the best HR assists in re-directing workflow and identifying other areas of the business where otherwise redundant staff can be put to work.

As the article notes, ‘The most far-sighted HR-ers at the most resilient companies are already starting to look beyond the flattened curve.’ At Resilient Services, our clients are already looking beyond the peak and preparing their recovery plan and strategies.

Do you and your business have one? If not, reach out, we can help you prepare one.

Talk tomorrow.

References

1 Prime Minister of Australia, ‘Update on coronavirus measures’, Media Statement, 24 March 2020, accessed 25 March 2020 <https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-24-March-2020>.

2 Kate Aubusson, ‘Premier asks parents to keep children at home but schools remain open’, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 March 2020, accessed 25 March 2020 < https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/premier-asks-parents-to-keep-children-home-but-schools-remain-open-20200323-p54cua.html>.

3 Chang, Harding et al., ‘Modelling transmission and control of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia’ Centre for Complex Systems and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, 24 March 2020, accessed 25 March 2020 <https://arxiv.org/pdf/2003.10218.pdf>.

4 The Economist, ‘The coronavirus crisis thrusts corporate HR chiefs into the spotlight’ The Economist, 24 March 2020, accessed 25 March 2020 < https://www.economist.com/business/2020/03/24/the-coronavirus-crisis-thrusts-corporate-hr-chiefs-into-the-spotlight?fsrc=newsletter&utm_campaign=the-economist-today&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_source=salesforce-marketing-cloud&utm_term=2020-03-24&utm_content=article-link-1>.

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