Pizza And Pricks, We’ve Never Had It So Good

Earlier today, I recorded the latest episode of the SafePrem Solutions podcast, Behind The Mask. Our guest was someone I’ve known for years who, for the past eight years, quite inexplicably, has lived in Australia. The picture he painted of current life down under, was rather depressing. Indeed, far from the images we normally associate with the antipodean dream.

Not only has the Australian government locked down the entire country, they have locked down individual states, enforcing it with a relish that no doubt many of our scientists and SAGE members over here in the UK would salivate at. And remember, according to the Johns Hopkins University latest figures, Australia are well down the medal table, with just 925 deaths to date. Current numbers of cases are but a drop off Bondi beach.

However, whilst in the UK, we’re doing rather well with the vaccine roll-out (aided now by free pizza and Uber rides) out of a total population of 24.5 million, Australia’s total vaccinated is around just 17%. Sadly, the government saw fit to call into question the safety of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, only to find that a) they had insufficient numbers of the Pfizer variant and b) subsequently discovered that the fears over the AZ were unfounded.

But by then it was too late, so it’s going to take a little more than a pepperoni meal deal to coax people to roll up their sleeves now. The law of intended consequences? And, like here, growing numbers of people are deleting the app so as to ensure that they don’t get pinged by it.

And with double vaccinated (I detest the ‘jabbed’ vernacular) people from both the US and EU now being welcomed to the UK, it really does appear that we’re now emerging from our own personal Covid nightmare. We’ve cracked it. Sent Covid packing. End of.

Except of course, it’s not quite that simple.

But even with the Delta variant, the Alpha variant and the ‘we haven’t yet discovered it yet’ variant all running riot and plotting a way around the vaccine, there really is no need to go back to the future in the winter when we hit what many scientists believe will be the mother of all ’flu seasons.

Because, to lockdown again would be to admit that we haven’t learnt anything whatsoever from the last eighteen months.

Case in point, Network Rail claiming that no traces of Covid-19 have been found in swabs and air samples in four major railway stations and intercity services. Quite what this exercise was designed to achieve is unclear although unlikely to put many minds at ease after we have all been fed a relentless diet of fear, uncertainty and doubt for well over a year.

In reality, it’s time to take down the plastic screens and accept that the time has come for us to get smart if businesses are to return to anything close to pre-pandemic levels of trading.

Smart will manifest itself in many ways, from properly providing clean air in premises to discovering new ways to interact and engage with people. Whether that be in a pub, an airport, a school or a train station, smart equates to digital.

And in that sense, never before has there been such an exciting time for so many different sectors. New business models, new ways of working and, importantly, new channels and ways to engage with the customer will emerge.

Now, isn’t that worth more than sharing a cold slice of pizza in the back of an Uber?

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