Happy New Year! I just tested positive for COVID and that might be the good news.
The bad news is that we have no idea what is going to happen in 2022 – when will this end? And is there a plan in sight to get us through?
In 2021, small businesses had some hope, with government assistance when we were forced to lock down. They told us that when the majority of us have been immunised, normality will return. What happened?
The rise in numbers has put COVID back on the media and political agenda. It has certainly given the mainstream media and our political leaders a platform to sell stories, increase ratings and score points over whether a tennis player should come to the country or not. Is this really the most important story right now?
The community is going into an automatic lockdown with rising case numbers alarming us all. Our people are gripped by fear. We do not have a clear endgame; we do not know how long businesses will have to last without staff, with limited income and so on. Small businesses will bear the brunt once again.
Many of us are living with the virus, knowingly and unknowingly already. What we are looking for is direction.
We need to know what to do to get our health back on track. We need support to continue building our businesses. We need assurance that we’ll once again be able to employ people, and rebuild our economy. We need to feel secure that our schools and health systems aren’t buckling under pressure. How can we give our children back some normality?
Many of us are still not sure how to navigate the testing system. Our supermarkets shelves are empty with mass numbers isolating.
While the Government is changing this policy of identifying what it means with being a close contact to alleviate the shortages of workers in the health system and in our food supply, the reality is that being a close contact could also mean you could carry the virus and pass it on unknowingly. Whether you’re vaccinated or not.
Not only is COVID strangling our economy, it has also paralysed so many people from going to or looking for work. Many employers have told me it is extremely hard to find workers, for the hospitality industry, or the supermarkets and other small businesses. It seems that people do not have the will to push through the bombardment of horrific COVID news stories and just stay home to be safe. Who is out there to stand up for us and lead us courageously through this crisis?
This period has also created the opportunity for price gouging of home test kits, and other necessary products.
We need conversations that will alleviate the scaremongering and the depletion of our collective spirit. Where are our elected representatives to bring us together and offer solutions? What we need right now is a clear plan, a pathway and direction.
We need our leaders to step up and lead with compassion and understanding. COVID is here with us to stay. We will not be able to suppress it. We will not be able to eliminate it. Let us adjust our mindset for 2022 and learn to live with this new reality. Let’s make sure we do not live in fear this year.