Monday, 23 August 2021

Lockdown accountability

Newsroom provides an excellent we-told-you-so this morning. 

Here's Jo Moir:

While the source of the Delta outbreak that plummeted New Zealand into a Level 4 lockdown is all but confirmed, how it got into the community is a work in progress.

Investigations are now homing in on a public walkway that shares the same airspace as the exercise area at the Crowne Plaza managed isolation facility.

In July Newsroom raised the issue of the public thoroughfare, which is the only access to a busy office block in downtown Auckland and requires passing directly beside the exercise yard via an un-roofed walkway.

The photo shows the obvious problem. The 'outdoor' area is anything but. It's enclosed on so many sides that you'd probably not be able to run it as an outdoor smoking area if you were a pub: there's a roof and walls on two sides, and the open side at the end is awfully small.  

The Ministry of Health recently consulted on its definition of an 'open area' for outdoor smoking areas for bars and pubs. Smoking is banned indoors but not outdoors. What counts as outdoors though? Does an awning make something indoors? How about an awning and a wall? This caused a lot of problems when different liquor enforcement officers would come to different views. 

The Ministry of Health's preferred option, in that consultation, was Option B. Any outdoor seating area that met this description would be prohibited from allowing smoking, because of the risks to passers by. 

Option b: Define it as an area that is completely or partially enclosed with a roof or overhead structure of any kind, whether permanent or temporary. This means that if an area has any roof or overhead structure, regardless of how much the roof or overhead structure encloses the area, it will meet the definition of an internal area.

I bolded the relevant bit. If you had a roof over the smokers, and then a minor bit of unroofed area, Option B would prohibit its use as an outdoor smoking area. 

The photograph obviously shows that the MIQ 'outdoor' recreation area has at least some kind of roof or overhead structure. Passers-by had to be right next to them, though there was a minor barrier. 

It looks like the Ministry of Health's preferred protection measures to guard against outdoor second hand smoke at pubs are stricter than the Ministry of Health's preferred protection measures to guard against Covid. 

And this is absolutely par for both courses for this player.

And we have wound up in a spot where a couple of guys out on jetboats on the weekend will wind up charged for breaking Level 4 restrictions, when the only harm they imposed was a potential one to rescue crews if they wound up in trouble, but none of the officials who decided it was a great idea to put this recreation area up next to a walkway will be up on charges, despite this now being the most likely candidate for how we wound up in lockdown and despite its having been an obviously recklessly stupid idea and despite their having been warned about it back in July. 

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