Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Coronavirus: No more blokey jokes as Australia shuts down for six months


Closed: the Carrara National Squash Centre in Gold Coast

All indoor sporting venues have to close in the next 24 hours
By ALEXIA CLONDA – Squash Mad Correspondent

All squash courts in Australia will be closed down following the latest directive from The Commonwealth and State Governments.

I have just heard the announcement that we are shutting down in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Today’s figures, with the curve climbing rapidly in recent days, showed we had suffered seven deaths with around 1,400 confirmed coronavirus cases.

All indoor sporting venues, cinemas, pubs, clubs, pretty much anything that is not essential, will have to close. A full list will be published over the next 24 hours. One news source reported: “From midday on Monday, registered and licensed clubs and pubs will be forced to close.”

Schools are still open, based on health advice, but some have shut.

These measures have been put in place to lower the risks of the virus spreading because of social gathering.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the measures to be brought in tomorrow (Monday) will be in place for at least the next six months.

This makes it certain that the World Junior Championships will not go ahead in July.

In some quarters, the reaction to the threat of coronavirus has been in total contradiction to the response to the recent outbreak of devastating bush fires.

Australians lambasted the government for reacting slowly to that particular crisis, but many thought that making dumb, blokey jokes would help us all to cope with the spread of coronavirus, despite government advice on self isolation and social distancing. 

Many squash clubs and players in Australia, apparently like large numbers of players in the UK, seemed to be adopting a gung-ho approach, determined to ignore medical advice and keep playing.

Some leading figures were posting selfies on Facebook, hugging opponents after playing squash despite all the warnings about social distancing. 

Seeing mass crowds at Bondi Beach also forced the government into rapid action to prevent group gatherings.

Now that the directive has come down from above, all squash clubs are expected to close courts immediately.

Squash Australia posted:
Due to the recent outbreak of Covid-19, Squash Australia regretfully announces that ALL SQUASH CENTRES in Australia must close from 12pm today (Monday, March 23).

Squash Australia is deeply saddened by all of those that will be impacted by these measures and thoughts are with all centre owners and players.

The sport will bounce back and recover strongly when this is all over and everyone is healthy and ready to continue to make Squash in Australia the best it can be.

The National Squash Centre in Carrara posted the following notice on its Facebook page today:

Our PM Scott Morrison has announced a major crackdown on gatherings, seeing the closure of indoor venues including squash centres, pubs, clubs, sporting and religious venues from midday tomorrow in response to the coronavirus pandemic following tonight’s announcement.

Unfortunately this means that our Centre will close from 12pm on Monday, March 23.

Whilst there’s uncertainty about the future we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful supporters and as an awesome Gold Coast squash community we will get through this.

Our thoughts go out to all of the affected squash centre owner/operators around the country.

The 7News.com website reported: 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken drastic action to limit the spread of coronavirus by announcing the closure of pubs, clubs, cinemas and casinos.

At a late-night press conference in Canberra on Sunday, Morrison announced “stage one” closures of some venues to deter indoor mass gatherings.

He says the strict closures follow a weekend in which Australians gathered at the beach and licensed venues to flaunt social distancing recommendations.

“When we all do not do the right thing, then it has real implications for others,” he said.

“We now need to take action because we cannot have the confidence as a group of leaders that the social distancing guidelines and rules that we have put in place won’t be followed to the level of compliance that we require to flatten the curve and slow the spread and save lives.”

From midday on Monday, registered and licensed clubs and pubs will be forced to close.


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