South Australian Shopping Crowds Raise Concerns About Virus Complacency

By AAP
May 9, 2020 Updated: May 9, 2020

Thousands of people have flocked to shopping malls and supermarkets across Adelaide, raising concerns of growing complacency over the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Mother’s Day on May 10 and the lifting of some restrictions in South Australia on Monday, health officials said the crowds at retail outlets on Saturday were not surprising.

However, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Mike Cusack said social distancing and other measures remained vitally important to avoid a surge in the number of virus infections.

“We could well understand after a period of lockdown, that people would want to get out,” Cusack said.

“But clearly the more we have people bunched together the more opportunity the virus has to jump from person to person.

“That effectively increases the risk of further outbreaks in the state.”

Cusack said given the experience in the US and in Europe a “second peak” of virus cases was always possible.

“We’ve seen the devastation that can be caused so I would strongly encourage people not to become complacent and to continue to do the right things,” he said.

SA reported no new virus infections on Saturday with the state’s tally remaining at 439.

Only two cases are still considered active.

Ahead of restrictions being eased, South Australians have been encouraged to start travelling to the regions to help reboot local tourism.

Premier Steven Marshall said SA would be the first state in Australia and among the first jurisdictions in the world to relax restrictions on caravanning and regional accommodation.

From Monday, all country accommodation can reopen, including caravan parks, hotels, motels and Airbnb services.

“We want people to get out and explore our fabulous regions. It is safe for regional travel in South Australia,” Marshall said.

“We are one of the safest places in the world at the moment.”

Marshall said he believed there was considerable pent up demand among people wanting to get away.

“I know a lot of people spend money each year going overseas,” he said.

“That is not available so now you’ve got a fantastic opportunity to substitute Paris with Penola.”

Other restrictions to be lifted in SA include the return of alcohol-free outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants and the resumption of outdoor sports training.

Universities and TAFE colleges will be allowed to resume face-to-face learning, public swimming pools, places of worship and libraries can reopen, and open house inspections and home auctions will be permitted.

In almost all cases, numbers will be limited to 10 people at a time and all social distancing provisions will still apply.

However, SA will allow up to 20 people to attend a funeral indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.

More restrictions will go from June 8 with cinemas and theatres to open along with gyms, galleries and museums, with the maximum number of people in most circumstances to be increased to 20.

By Tim Dornin