COVID-19

Top medic slammed over New Year’s Eve plea

The state recorded its highest ever daily tally on Wednesday with 1472 new Covid-19 cases, prompting the professor to tell people to party at home in the hopes of suppressing the Omicron variant.“I want this to be the absolute quietest New Year’s Eve anybody has ever had. You can still make a bit of noise by yourself, I fully intend to do that on my own veranda,” she told FIVEaa.“You can meet up with people on Zoom … but we really do not want to have lots of people getting together during that New Year’s Eve period.”Professor Spurrier said restrictions, including tough density limits at hospitality venues, gyms and home gatherings, would remain for the an unknown amount of time.But the state’s struggling hospitality industry has slammed her comments as businesses approach the state government for financial support.Venues have said the comments were yet “another nail in the coffin”.Chair of peak body Business SA Nikki Govan said she was shocked by the state’s new social distancing measures.“I certainly had no idea we were going to be making this jump back. It was quite devastating as this is our busiest week of the year,” she told ABC Radio.Team member behind venues including NOLA, Anchovy Bandit and Bowden Brewing, Oliver Brown, echoed the calls for support.“To give restrictions to hospitality that are meant to help manage/limit the spread and then follow them up with a direction to ‘have a quiet NYE’ is utterly ridiculous,” Mr Brown told The Advertiser.The Australian Hotels Association’s SA chief executive Ian Horne said it was essential the government provided financial support to businesses.Mr Horne described the restrictions and Professor Spurrier’s comments as “a lockdown by another name”.“Those businesses that haven’t cancelled events or closed but were able to pivot to a compliant trading arrangement for New Year’s Eve now face even greater losses,” he said.“I assume SA Health won’t be covering the lost wages, cost of spoiled goods or terminated musicians and entertainers as a result of this directive.”Mr Horne is also pushing for the state government to issue hospitality workers with free rapid antigen tests.

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