I've been pondering what it means to be an effective leader this week.
From managing my team and our workflow as they begin to trickle back from a well-deserved break, to the situation playing out at a state and national level.
While lockdowns were awful for many and a challenge to negotiate, at least it kept this virus somewhat restrained.
Then along comes a new variant, the welcome lifting of restrictions and the oh-so-predictable resulting surge in cases.
"Living with the virus" and the "new normal" is understandable. We can't continue living under Draconian lockdowns and social isolation.
However, the "let it rip" approach has resulted in a debacle of pandemic proportions.
Empty store shelves, employees unavailable to "push through" either positive with COVID or because they worked alongside someone who has tested positive, the cancelling of a multitude of music gigs and community events.
It's all similar to the lockdown era. However this time there's also the massive blowout in case numbers and an ever-increasing daily death toll.
And instead of toilet paper and flour missing from our shelves due to ridiculous and unnecessary panic buying, it's fresh fruit, vegetables and meat barely available because there's no-one to deliver it.
And heaven forbid you need to source a rapid antigen test - you know, the costly ones the government says it would prefer we all take rather than the free PCR tests, but that it won't subsidise (or preorder knowing the situation we'd be facing).
Nevermind, at least we can still sing and dance and have fun. Oh wait, no that's only if you're part of the PM-favoured Hillsong Church, because of course COVID won't be an issue for them as it is in our local pub.
It's enough to make watching tennis seem an attractive option...
- Ben Smyth, Editor*
*Toni Bell, editor of the Manning River Times, is currently on leave.
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